Deputies: LeFlore Co. Couple Arrested After Spanking Went Too Far

Saturday, March 25th 2017, 9:49 am
By: News On 6

LeFlore County deputies arrested the father of a five-year-old girl after her mom called, saying her daughter had suffered injuries from being spanked. 

KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith says the mother called the sheriff's office after the child had just come back from her fathers home. 

"Basically, we understood that it was a disciplinary action by the father that had went too far," LeFlore County Investigator Terry Winn said.

Investigators said the child was swatted with a hand and more than 10 times with a wooden paddle nearly two feet long and 3'4 of an inch thick. They also said severe bruises were left on the child.

The father, Jeff Hampton was arrested on a complaint of child abuse and his wife, Michelle Warner, who investigators said is a nurse was arrested on a complaint of failure to protect.

"Under Oklahoma law she is a mandatory reporter which means, she must report any instances of child abuse," Winn said.

Investigators said the nurse told them she witnessed the paddling, saw the bruises but did not feel that it warranted the attention of a doctor. 

An arrest warrant affidavit also stated the nurse claimed she did a medical assessment of the child after the paddling.

Winn explained to KFSM, what constitutes child abuse when it comes to discipline.

"Disciplining your child in the state of Oklahoma is legal until it leaves a bruise, red mark or other injury," Terry Winn said.

"If it's a simple red mark when we get there and it's because the spanking just happened recently, that's not our issue. Our issue is with the permanent bruising."

Investigators said they also determine child abuse cases on a case by case basis.

"As long as you do it within a reasonable persons standard, Ok? I know that's very vague but that's the way the law reads, is that it has to be within a reasonable standard," Terry Winn said.