TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas mother is in court today for a pre-trial hearing on a family assault case. Erica Moore is the woman who admitted beating her son with an electrical cord for engaging in a homosexual act.
Maximum punishment for the Class-A misdemeanor Assault Bodily Injury charge is one year in jail. At the hearing Tuesday, Hill told CBS 11 News she rejected a plea deal that would have included one year’s probation, a $1,000 fine and mandatory anger management and parenting classes.
Hill says she’s willing to go to trial because she didn’t do anything wrong. The Forest Hill woman stands by her opinion that she disciplined her son as any parent has right to.
According to Moore, one evening she found the door to her 15-year-old son’s bedroom closed. “My cousin at the time he was 18. My son he was 15 and I had walked in the room on [my cousin] giving oral sex to my son and I started whipping my son, and I’m the one who got in trouble as a result of me whipping him,” she said, back in March.
Today she justified her actions against her son. “I disciplined him in the house because I feel like he was old enough to scream or say something,” said Moore. She also claimed the other teen should have been arrested since he was 18 and an adult at the time.
Moore has openly admitted striking her son with the electrical cord, but today she told reporters today she hit him with her fists. She said she used the form of discipline that she was brought up with as punishment, because she doesn’t believe in homosexuality. “When I walked in I saw my son, it was just disgusting to me,” she said. “I actually caught this going on in my house so how was I supposed to react to it? I supposed to just let it go? No! We was taught to discipline our kids and we whip our kids.”
♦♦♦Listen To A KRLD NewsRadio 1080 Interview With Moore, From March♦♦♦
After being disciplined the boy’s grandmother took him to the hospital for treatment and police were alerted. Officials with the Forest Hill Police Department said Moore went too far with her discipline, causing bleeding and leaving marks on the boy’s thighs, forearms, hands, torso and back.
Members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference accompanied Moore to court Tuesday, saying they support her “for exercising her constitutionally protected religious rights and her moral obligation to train up her children in a Godly manner.”
According to Pastor Kyev Tatum, “In light of so many kids in our community being out of control that we as a community have to encourage parents to use discipline as a tool to keep their kids under control and their behavior under control.”
Tatum believes the mother’s action was justified, “We’re basically compromising the integrity of our society where parents no longer have the right to discipline their childre for breaking the rules and the laws within their house. What parent wouldn’t punish a child in their house for engaging in some kind of lewd act.? While they’re in their home?”
Moore’s teenage son continues to live with her.
No trial date was set in the case.
Experts on children says it’s sometimes a fine line between discipline and abuse, and that line can move depending on the age of the child or the rage of the parent.
“Physical discipline in Texas is not illegal; spanking is not illegal,” according the Marissa Gonzales of Texas Child Protective Services. Her agency was not called in this case.
But she tells CBS 11 News there can be extenuating circumstances when discipline crosses the line to abuse, including, “the age of the child, whether they have a physical disability, whether or not you’re using something besides your hand to discipline them and whether you’re leaving injuries, marks, cuts, bruises, or hitting vital areas like the face.”
Family law attorney Monica Peters adds the parent’s state of mind may be the deciding factor.“Was the parent calm and coolly doing this as a means of punishment or were they in a fit of rage and out of control?”
She continues, “If they’re out of control and they’re not really thinking about what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, then the potential for harm to the child is much greater.”
Peters say parents DO have a constitutional right to parent as they see fit, “But somewhere in there we have to balance the right of the parent versus the safety and well-being of children. And that’s when the state gets involved.”
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