Father Admits to Whipping Children
By Susan Stiegman
KFVS Heartland News, October 13, 2003

Paducah, KY --A Heartland father's way of keeping his kids in line brings up the question, how much discipline is too much? Paducah police arrested 38-year-old Anthony J. Lee, Sr. Thursday. Police say Lee's 15-year-old daughter had visible injuries on her back, shoulder and arm. Her 13-year-old brother also had injuries..one to his face. Police say Lee admitted to using a belt on his son and daughter, in an attempt to discipline them.

But Lee may be the one who learns a lesson. Lee is charged with two counts of second degree assault. "Each count carries a five to 10-year prison sentence," says Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Chris Hollowell. Police say Lee whipped his two teenage children too hard with a belt -- Something many parents have done, with much less force. "Under Kentucky law, every parent has the right to punish their children, including corporal punishment," says Hollowell.

But how far, is too far when it comes to punishing a child? "What a parent does not have the right to do is use force that causes physical or mental trauma," adds Hollowell. So if a parent strikes a child, and it leaves a mark..can it result in jail time? That's a judgement call. "If a parent strikes the child with a belt, many people say that is okay," says Hollowell. "Using a baseball bat would be overboard."

While most people were not severely beaten as a child, it seems attitudes about punishments 'have' changed over time. "There's other modes of punishment," says Tina Clark, a Paducah mother. "I grew up getting whippings, and I don't like them. I've learned from it."

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