Austin PD: Man Wanted for Spanking Child Too Hard, By Alexis Patterson,, September 4, 2008

A man is facing a criminal charge after Austin police say he crossed the line while disciplining the child of a family friend.

Austin police say Michael LaPierre is from Canada and that he returned there after this incident. But they do believe he'll come back.

"When he instituted discipline, [he] didn't have an intent to injure the child but went overboard," said Sgt. Brian Loyd with APD's child abuse unit.

According to court paperwork, LaPierre made the child bend over a couch while he spanked the child with his hand because the child lied.

The mother reportedly told police she noticed the child cried louder than during other spankings but didn't think it would leave marks. Police say they have photographic evidence of bruises left on the child's buttocks and hips in late June.

"When you start physically injuring the child, and bruises occur, and especially when the bruises are to the extent like these bruises, you've gone way past discipline," Sgt. Loyd said.

Police are in contact with LaPierre and believe he'll return to face the charge of injury to a child.

"He believes that what he did was justified and basically wants to clear his name," Sgt. Loyd said.

Police say adults should cool off before disciplining children.

Sgt. Loyd says, "What I say to parents, and I'm a parent myself, is take a few moments. Step back from the situation. Don't institute discipline off the cuff."

Investigators tell KEYE 42 the child's father reported the case. Legal paperwork indicates LaPierre also disciplined the child and a sibling by making them kneel on a tile floor while holding a jug of kitchen cleaner.

Police say it took time for this case to get through the system after it occurred in late June. It came to investigators through a CPS referral and then had to be thoroughly investigated before charges were filed.

Return to Front page