Friday, January 28, 2011

Alaska "Hot Sauce" Mom Jessica Beagley Pleads Not Guilty To Misdemeanor Child Abuse In Anchorage

-- NOTE: All previous posts on this case available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

Jessica Beagley, who earlier received national publicity over her November 17th, 2010 appearance on Dr. Phil where it was disclosed she used hot sauce and cold showers as part of her disciplinary repertoire with a fractious seven-year old adopted Russian boy, had her lawyer enter a plea of not guilty to misdemeanor child abuse on her behalf in an Anchorage court on January 28th, 2011. KTUU Channel 2 and the Anchorage Daily News provide the primary media coverage, while the Anchorage Press documented Russian interest in the case two days earlier.

-- Alaska Court System database entry on Jessica Beagley HERE, designated as Case No. 3AN-11-00323CR.

-- Seven-page charging document available HERE

KTUU news video embedded below:


Beagley was not required to be personally present, which may have been a good thing, because according to one of her lawyers, Pete Ramgren, he'd never seen that many cameras in an arraignment for misdemeanor city charges. There were at least four video cameras, including one with a TV crew from Russia, a crew from the Lower 48 rumored to be shooting for the Today show, and reporters from two local news channels. Ramgren claimed there'd be no media circus had it not been for Beagley's appearance on Dr. Phil. Alaska Pride believes the charges are politically motivated, and not only because of the Dr. Phil appearance.

Dispute centers around the cited statute, AMC8.10.030(B)(2) (if the link fails, go HERE and select Title 8 from the menu on the left). The statute lists several factors in determining what is reasonable parental discipline. One example of unreasonable discipline included in the code is the scalding, branding or burning of a child. But Beagley's attorney maintains that Jessica Beagley did not break municipal law, because the Beagley children haven't had physical injuries or medical care for injuries. In contrast, municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin found evidence from the investigating detective's report that Beagley's methods of discipline were not reasonable and therefore broke Anchorage child abuse laws, and decided to press charges.

Beagley's husband, Gary Beagley, is an Anchorage police officer. He has not been charged, and there are no reports of any sanctions directed against him on the job by APD. The family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only a handful of anti-Mormon remarks have surfaced in the comments section of local media.

Russian TV crews were also present to cover the arraignment. A correspondent says Beagley's case was a shock to Russians and is being closely followed, especially after a case last year when an American woman sent her adopted boy back to Moscow. Adoptions to the United States were halted afterwards, potentially affecting thousands of U.S. families; negotiations between the two governments are taking place. Even though the seven-year-old boy was adopted by an American family, Russia still considers the boy a Russian citizen.

However, KTUU separately reported on January 27th that the adoption agency that helped the Beagleys get their Russian sons stands behind Jessica. Olga Byrnes said, "This is good family. I personally, I met this family numerous times, and I remember them they were very excited about the Russian adoption."

Update January 29th: Discussion has surfaced on an anti-Mormon website, Recovery From Mormonism. Posters seem to be assuming the worst about Jessica Beagley, despite documentation indicating this behavior was primarily directed towards that one adoptive child. The testimony by the Russian consul, who visited the family, is completely disregarded. It should be noted that Beagley was obviously conscious of the fact that her disciplinary techniques were not working, which is why she sought Dr. Phil's help in the first place. While the ex-Mo's on RFM think the Church is too paternalistic, and departed its ranks because of it, they seem to have no problem with government paternalism. I'm no fan of paternalism period, but I'll trust the President of the Church long before I'll trust the President of the U.S.A.


Anonymous said...

A good family? No, not with a mother who abuses children as Jessica Beagley abuses her adopted son. Her husband is a police officer? Why didn't he protect his son? The lack of accountability shown by Jessica Beagley suggests that she is in need of intensive therapy. The authorities overseeing the Beagley case must move to protect all of the children in the home.

Jack Mormon said...

Disagree, in part. They still are basically a good family, but the mother had problems with that one son. She's had no problems with the other children. Some outsiders who've seen the family state that there are no signs of physical abuse.

But the mother does need intervention in dealing with this one particular child.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Beagley has problems, severe problems...not had problems...has problems. She is an abuser of her own children.

Are there specific references and/or links to verify what the outsiders observed? Have the children been examined by medical doctors to determine if there has been physical abuse or not? She is willing to have her other children witness and even record the abuse of her son so that his humiliation can become an international story. That is emotional and psychological abuse. Jessica Beagley needs therapy in dealing with any child, not just her son.

Jack Mormon said...

No medical reports to the degree you've specified have been made available, only the media story about the Russian consulate's visit.

However, I've read stories in the past about situations in multi-sibling families where all kids were treated well except for one. One kid -- and only one kid -- would end up being constantly abused.

Nobody's disputing that Jessica Beagley needs professional counseling and assistance. But let's not assume the worst yet. If the situation was as serious as you believe, she'd be charged with more than just a misdemeanor.

dooflotchie said...

The quotes here are from another post at this blog:

"She is assertive, but not aggressive. Thus I would characterize her as more of a disciplinarian rather than an abuser. The provocation was legitimate..."

Screaming in the face of a 7 year old child WHILE YOU INFLICT PAINFUL PUNISHMENT most definitely *IS* aggressive and that is a MAJOR understatement.
There is NO legitimate provocation for this ABUSE!

"Jessica Beagley has been authoritative, but I don't sense an abusive spirit."

Looks like you don't have much "sense" at all then! SHE KEEPS THE BOTTLE OF HOT SAUCE HANDY IN THE BATHROOM. Now that's what I call planning ahead.

"The Beagleys are devout members of the LDS Church, most likely possessing a temple recommend."

Like that means diddly. We all know somebody who goes to church could NEVER abuse a kid, right? *eye roll* The Beagleys are nothing but devout child abusers. Does the temple recommend that too?

"A recommend is considered spiritually vital by devout Mormons."

Yeah. Seems like that's a lot more vital than say, not abusing your kids.

"While no criminal charges are warranted..."

OOPS! Looks like they were!

"...the Office of Children's Services should consider removing Kristoff from the home..."

The Office of Children's Services should consider removing ALL THE CHILDREN from the home. Don't even try to tell me none of the other kids ever got that treament!

Do you know that if you force a PRISONER OF WAR to hold a mouthful of hot sauce for several minutes and then force them to stand naked in an ice-cold shower for several more that is a violation of the Geneva Convention? If you can't do that to a prisoner of war why is it OK to do that to a kid?!

And you think this woman is "assertive but not aggressive"? Not showing an abusive spirit? YOU. ARE. BEYOND. WRONG!!!

If this is "Godly living", I'll take my heathen atheist hellbound ways any day of the week, TYVM!

You people are crazy and sick. Even more so when you call an old man using his "religious belief" as an excuse for indulging in perversion a "prophet", believe that magic underwear protect you and hot sauce and ice-cold showers to discipline a kid is not "an abusive spirit".

I've only got one more question for you:


Amy in Ohio said...

You're statement:

"Posters seem to be assuming the worst about Jessica Beagley, despite documentation indicating this behavior was primarily directed towards that one adoptive child. "

Why did you make this conclusion? HOw many children would she need to harm in order for it to be okay to classifier her as troublesome? What difference does it make that his child is adopted? Is he somehow less deserving of proper treatment.

There are documented cases in every state about portion of abusive parents and their tendency to target their anger to one child over the other child(ren) in the home. The abuse is no less damning. So I'm unclear what your greater point was here?

I'm not anti-Mormon, I'm anti-abuse. Religion plays no factor whatsoever in this discussion (other than the fact that your site is about Mormons).

Amy in Ohio said...

And does it not trouble you that she solicits her 10 year old daughter to film this?

Why kind of message does that send?

Violence begets violence and this poor daughter filming it will have a whole other set of emotional consequences to deal with.

Amy in Ohio said...

She openly admits in the interview that she's "tried a number of things", each one escalating from the last.

So if left unchecked, and she doesn't get the results from the hot sauce and cold shower (btw, a method her husband learned in the MILITARY according to his interview on the show), what's next? Hot shower? Scald the child into submission? Swish around some anti-freeze perhaps?

She openly tells all of America she's escalating - as a society, how do you not intervene here?

The children (yes, all of them contrary to your opinion) need to be removed until she gets the help she clearly needs and I don't know if I would ever

Kids fib, kids get into trouble, and kids have problems. I'm sure coming from a Russian orphanage, this poor boy has problems I can't even imagine.

But you know what? You should know that going into a complicated adoption. He's learning a new language, learning to love a new family. And she's in his face screaming "you don't lie in *MY* house" - who's to say SHE'S not the source of his greater issues?

What kind of message do you send to this transplanted little soul? *MY* house? Who talks like that to a seven year old. I can see the verbiage with an unruly teenager testing the boundaries, but a 7 year old, adopted at 5 from another country? Talk about instilling insecurity in this poor creature.

Anonymous said...

"I'll trust the President of the Church long before I'll trust the President of the U.S.A."

I'm sure Catholics put blind trust into their priests as well, and look how that turned out. Just sayin!

Jessica Beagley is a monster, she is non-human without any empathy or emotion. She deserves to be "disciplined" for her horrific behavior! I spit on her, I detest her, may she be forced to sit in a burning hot shower to show her that the behavior of an abusive mother is not acceptable, in MY COUNTRY! And may her cop husband be dolled out the same punishment for enabling a sociopathic bitch to abuse a defenseless child!

Anonymous said...

A calm demeanor does not mean that behavior is not abuse. If anything, horrid torture perpetrated by a calm person is even more shocking than from a temporarily unhinged person, who may calm down and return to normalcy.

This woman's craziness seems to be a permanent, considered part of her personality and parenting approach.

The husband should be dragged into the street and horsewhipped. He knew of the abuse, he recommended it and he had less involvement with the child which should have provided him with the perspective on the situation that the wife seems to have completely lacked.

The fact that this abuse was of one child does not recommend this woman as a mother. THose other children will have permanent survivor guilt (especially the victim's twin) for being there, not suffering the same abuse, and doing nothing to stop the abuse.

The ten year old who filmed that horror show is either severely damaged and feeling abjectly guilty or she is an emerging deranged sadist herself. Either way, horrible.

Anonymous said...

I am so relieved to find out that this person has been charged with a crime. I have been haunted by the horrific treatment she inflicted on this little boy ever since I saw it on the Dr. Phil show. Never ever should anyone treat anyone or any living thing in this manner. She deserves no mercy, and thank God she was finally exposed-- due to her own selfish desire to appear on television. I hope all the children are removed from her care. She doesn't deserve them and they most certainly don't deserve HER!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Exploiter, oh I mean Dr. Phil just had an update:

As for this abusive bitch with Bozo the Clown hair I hope she rots in hell (along with my biological abusive grandparents). Even members of a MMA forum could not watch this video, and that is pretty telling when MMA participants and fans think this is abuse.

If the LDS church is officially against this form of child abuse then why haven't we heard anything from Salt Lake City?

I'll give credit to the RCC and Pope John Paul II-he did his best to try to distant the RCC from abusive pedophile priests and the cover-up scandal. That is more than I can say for the LDS leaders in Salt Lake.

And what does a website for ex-Mormons have to do with this? They have their point of view just as you have your point of view. If you have a problem with their opinions then why not take it up directly with them?

As for comments in this thread:

I understand where Maloy is coming from. I wouldn't blame Russia from closing off adoptions to all Americans. They need to be certain that their beloved orphan citizens go to good loving homes. As for the person who claims that if this was a Catholic mother we would not see media headlines like "Catholic mom abuses children", well they have obviously have not read Philip Jenkins' book entitled "The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice". Anti-Catholic bias and prejudice is alive and well in the United States. It was especially prevalent during the abuse scandal.

If you don't want your church to get slammed in the media right now then I suggest you write to your leaders asking them to condemn child abuse in all of it's forms. Your leadership needs to actively distance itself from this bitch and her abusive actions.

As for the state of Alaska, hopefully this will force them to review their child abuse laws and update them as needed. If they don't then they should be thrown out of the union.

Now I'm heading to John Dehlin's podcast to see what he thinks of all this. Thank you for providing a forum in which I can vent a little. It's good to get this off my chest.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for all the chilren in this family. Look in the eyes of the 10 year old that filmed this gut wrenching scene. She clearly
will be affected by this all the rest of her life. Where is she now? With the abuser? I say there is punishment for the mother and that is let her feel the hot sauce on her tongue and mouth and thrown into an ice cold shower. Not once but over and over until she feels the pain of her children that is so intense that she will never again be abusive to another child. And yes where is DAD in all this?

kateking said...

The Dr Phil Show with Jessica Beagley just aired in Australia yesterday 17th March 2011.The reaction of my immediate community is summed up in the blog post about Kristoff on the Australian Intuitive Parenting site. The fact that this serious abuse can come to light, proven in a video and the child is still left to endure in that horrific home astounds us. God Bless America's children, they sure need it.