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I had a question about child abuse. Oregon. Not really

I had a question...

I had a question about child abuse

Lawyer's Assistant: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Oregon

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Yes

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not really

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/9/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17,684
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
I spanked my child and left a bruise on his bottom. it was a pretty good bruise and child welfare has removed my child with a protection order. went to court yesterday to get information and I have a settlement hearing on the 20th of this month. I am wondering if this is a criminal act and might there be jail time for this.

How was he spanked? That is, was it with your hand, a belt, paddle, etc...?

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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 17,684
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
no phone call sorry
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
with paddle
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
sorry computer froze but spanking was with a paddle
Phone call session started

Per your request, I will call shortly. Please give me 5 to 10 minutes, if that works. If not, please let me know what other time would be good for me to call.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
i didnt want a call i thought it was for something else sorry

That's fine. We can continue here and I'll make sure that any refunds are applied.

Can you tell me how old your son is?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
he is 9 years old

Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you

Thank you for all that additional information. First of all, you need to know that Oregon law defines criminal abuse pretty narrowly (which is good for you). To convict a suspected child abuser of felony assault or criminal mistreatment, prosecutors must prove that the victim suffered a "physical injury" under Oregon law. And that, in turn, means proving that the person experienced "substantial pain."

An appeals court has made that hard to prove unless the victims can talk about how they suffered, and simple pain is not "substantial". The law leaves open another avenue for proving a "physical injury" – that the victim suffered an "impairment of a physical condition." But the appeals court has ruled that welts, bruises and shallow cuts aren't enough, and by implication the pain of welts and bruises wouldn't be enough.

Further the law provides a defense: 2015 ORS 161.205

The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

(1)(a) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person.

So the prosecutor would have to prove that the force used was "unreasonable", and beyond a reasonable doubt that it was unreasonable. So if you used a metal bat, for example, that clearly would be unreasonable. But a paddle generally wouldn't be unreasonable. Of course it's still possible that they could bring charges. But it's a legal determination that the judge would make, prior to it even going to a jury, if the injury would amount to abuse. And it's difficult to get a conviction the way that the law is stated, so it's rare that they'd bring charges in the first place.

Now the child protection matter is different, in that their standard is the "best interests of the child", and I certainly would suggest getting an attorney to handle the CPS matter. But as far as criminal charges are concerned, it's very, very unlikely given the caselaw that is on the books.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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