Former Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone was not committing a crime when he beat his 14-year-old son with a belt last May.
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Russell Mock found Malone not guilty Friday on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
Malone, who had a three-day trial before the judge last month, had faced up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Mock had to decide whether the beating was punishment or a crime.
ďI donít agree with what you did that day," Mock said. "I cannot imagine placing a belt on any of my children. But how you raise your son is your business."
Malone, 35, was arrested May 14 after his son told Cincinnati police Malone beat him with a belt, punishment for missing a checkpoint during a school field trip.
At issue was whether Malone was within the law in punishing his son.
Ohio law permits corporal punishment, but says it can go too far. When it puts the child at risk of death, causes serious physical injury or results in substantial pain, a parent has crossed the line from punishment to a crime.
During the trial, Malone defended whipping his son with a belt, explaining that he wanted to teach the teenager not to disrespect authority.
The boy testified through that the beating was extremely painful and mark left on his leg by the beltís buckle lasted for months.
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