(April 2003)

In 1997, a Lorain County man was convicted of child endangerment for spanking his daughters, aged 15 and 13, with their pants down. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer (8/9/97) reported: "Ohio law permits use of reasonable corporal punishment, but prosecutors said Boyle's methods were a mental risk to his daughters . . .'It's not that he administered corporal punishment, but how,' said Lorain County Prosecutor Gregory A. White. 'He was way over the line.'"

By contrast, Mason Municipal Judge George M. Parker last January declared innocent a psychologist from Blue Ash who entered the bedroom of a 14-year-old girl, lowered her underwear and spanked her to the point of bruising--despite the fact that this man had no blood relation to her, let alone any legally recognized authority to punish her. While it has been alleged that the girl's grandmother authorized him to spank the girl, it seems doubtful in any case that she consented to her granddaughter being denuded and bruised in the process (the severity of which inexplicably failed to earn a conviction even of misdemeanor assault). (source: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/17/03)

The outcomes of these two cases suggest the lack of a coherent standard regarding the extent to which sexually developing (or quite developed) minors are subject to having the private areas of their body forcibly exposed and touched in the course of discipline. So . . . which precedent should guide the citizens of Ohio today?

Keep in mind that corporal punishment of students, up to and including high school seniors (many of whom are legal adults), remains legal in 25 districts in the state of Ohio. Under a standard as lax as Judge Parker's, is there any reason why a male school principal in one of these districts, having clear in loco parentis status as well as express license to use physical punishment, should have any qualms about administering "bare butt" spankings to unruly female students, at least up to age 14? For that matter, at what age does Judge Parker believe a young woman is no longer fair game for any man to "put over his knee," no matter how defiant her attitude?

Either way you look at it, an injustice has occurred. If you agree with Judge Parker's decision, then it follows that the Lorain County father was wrongfully prosecuted. On the other hand, if you think the charges in the Lorain County case had merit, then certainly the Blue Ash man should not have gotten off scot-free. In fact, many who would advocate a father's right to give pants-down spankings to his teen daughters might nonetheless balk at such actions by a non-parent (the converse is much less plausible). So at least one of these court decisions should not be respected; it is for you to decide which.

Before you decide, however, you are encouraged to learn more about the serious implications of men spanking teenage girls. To that end, please visit and

Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE) P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033 (925) 831-1661

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