Alaska court upholds conviction of woman who used hot sauce as punishment

Jessica Beagley sits at the defendants table with her husband, Gary, before her sentencing hearing on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, in Anchorage, Alaska. Beagley, was convicted of punishing her adopted Russian son by squirting hot sauce into his mouth. AP Photo/Dan Joling

JUNEAU, Alaska – An Alaska appeals court has affirmed the conviction of an Anchorage woman whom prosecutors said used a videotape of herself punishing her son to try to get on the “Dr. Phil” show.

Jessica Beagley in 2011 was convicted of misdemeanour child abuse for punishing her adopted Russian son by putting hot sauce into his mouth. She received probation and a suspended jail sentence.

READ MORE: US woman convicted of child abuse for squirting hot sauce in adopted son’s mouth

In her appeal, she argued, among other things, that the wording of the ordinance she was prosecuted under was vague.

The Court of Appeals acknowledged potential problems with what constitutes “reasonable parental discipline” under the ordinance.

But judges say jurors weren’t asked to decide if Beagley used unreasonable discipline but whether she even engaged in discipline or mistreated her son as a ploy to get on TV.


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