Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jury Convicts Anchorage "Hot Sauce" Mom Jessica Beagley Of Child Abuse, Given Suspended Sentence Of 180 Days And $2,500 Fine

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

On August 23rd, 2011, Jessica Beagley's legal ordeal finally came to an end. Unfortunately, it resulted in a conviction as a Anchorage jury of six convicted her of misdemeanor child abuse. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Monday August 29th; a maximum of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine is possible, although one commenter to the Anchorage Daily News story speculates that any sentence might be suspended if Beagley accepts a regimen of court-approved counseling.

Update August 29th: The judge sentenced Beagley to 180 days in jail and a $2,500 fine. Both the jail time and the fine are suspended so long as she complies with the terms of her probation. Municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin recommended 30 days in jail with another 330 days suspended, as well as a $1,500 fine.

The jury appeared to attach much more weight to Beagley's efforts to get air time on Dr. Phil than to the testimony by Virginia Moring, a supervisor with the Office of Children's Services, who testified on August 19th that there were no signs of maltreatment -- which the office defines as neglect, physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence or drug use -- during visits to Beagley's home and interviews with her children. Investigators interviewed Beagley and her husband Gary, their children, as well as their coworkers and officials at the kids' school. The kids told OCS they felt safe. KTVA news video finally available:

Neither Jessica Beagley, her husband Gary, nor the six primary jurors had any comment after the trial. However, one alternate juror said she would have also voted to convict, since she believed Beagley was too interested in playing up to Dr. Phil and wondered why Beagley hadn't sought treatment in Anchorage. This is a question Beagley could have answered had she chosen to testify; she chose not to. But the alternate conceded that Beagley was capable of being a good mother.

Beagley's defense lawyer William Ingaldson reacted, saying "The way the law is written ... makes it really difficult for a parent to discipline your kids and not be subject to other people's subjective ideas of what is right or wrong".

Official Russian action could be next, since the Russian government considers adoptees taken from their country to be Russian citizens until they're 18. However, Russia has sent some mixed official signals in the past; in January, while one Russian official said they'd seek to repatriate the twins if Beagley was convicted, another Russian official visited the Beagley home and found no signs of abuse. Their final reaction may depend upon the sentence handed down on August 28th.

Because the Beagley family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the story has provided grist for the propaganda mills on Recovery From Mormonism. However, on the latest thread, they're not really beating up on the Church so much, but instead are merely criticizing Beagley for being clueless.

1 comment:

Kaththee said...

Unfortunately she won't serve any time. She does not have the right temperament to be a mother of an adopted child. She is probably okay with her own children. Her heart is just not that big. I wish so much the Russians would remove that little boy and his brother too. She has evil in her. You could see it in her face on the video. Pure evil. Her motherly instincts probably protect her own children from it but the adopted children bring it out. If I were the judge, I would have removed her adopted children and sent her to prison for 6 months at least. It makes me sick that other Mormons protect her and that she has been given that stupid status that supposedly proves she is infallible.