(Virginia) Couple charged with assaulting daughter who wet pants
By Associated Press, April 4, 2002

LIGHTFOOT, Va. -- An Ohio couple was arrested when witnesses accused them of hitting, spanking and kicking their 5-year-old daughter after the girl wet her pants, police said.

A witness said the father rubbed the girl's head against the back seat of the car, apparently where the child had been sitting when the accident occurred, according to the police report.

The alleged beating occurred shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the Lightfoot Pancake House, said Investigator Jeff Vellines, a spokesman for the James City County Police.

Vellines said one witness called police and two other witnesses came forward to report what they had seen to the police officer who arrived. By the time the police got there, the family had gone into the restaurant.

Cynthia Y. Johnson, 27, and Michael J. Johnson, 33, of Warren, Ohio, were charged with domestic assault, Vellines said. The charge is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Vellines said witnesses described the parents spanking and yelling at the child. Then, Michael Johnson reportedly kicked the car's back tires and the back door, picked up the child by one arm and rubbed her head against the seat, Vellines said. He also took off the girl's pants, hit her with them and kicked her, Vellines said.

Finally, the investigator said, Cynthia Johnson dragged the child into the restaurant by her left ear.

Because of her age, the child was not able to tell police much about what happened. She did not appear injured, Vellines said. He said Child Protective Services took the girl and her 7-year-old sister into custody until Cynthia Johnson's mother in Richmond could take them.

The Johnsons were released on bond. They could not be reached for comment.

Child Protective Services Supervisor Mary Ann Lee said the girl was doing fine Thursday. She said she could not discuss details of the case.

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