When is spanking considered physical abuse? A Virginia judge has ruled that Felisha Kimble-Tanks, an Annandale dentist, crossed the line when she left bruises on her 6-year-old daughter's thigh after disciplining her with a belt. The mom is now banned from spanking for two years.
The girl's father, from whom Kimble-Tanks is separated, discovered the bruises in January and filed a complaint with the Stafford County Sheriff's Office. According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, he also said that despite the incident, she was a good mother. Defense lawyer Mark Murphy pointed out to Yahoo Shine that the father made no move to get physical custody of the girl even though it would have been within his rights. He also noted that "the department of social services took no steps to remove the girl from her mother's home."
Prosecutor Tara Mooney initially charged Kimble-Tanks with child cruelty, a felony. On Wednesday, the prosecution reached a deal with Murphy to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor, which will be dropped in two years if she refrains from any type of corporal punishment.
According to Mooney, Kimble-Tanks "crossed the line." She told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, "Leaving bruises on a child that young is abuse," not appropriate discipline. Murphy disagreed and said he had been ready to go to trial if the charges hadn't been reduced and eventually dropped.