A Duval County firefighter was arrested this week for child abuse in Jacksonville. According to an article on News4Jax.com, the man was arrested last week in relation to an incident at the end of March. He is accused of removing his child from the bed during the night and taking the child to the garage. The accused allegedly turned on an industrial fan and beat the child on the buttocks and upper thighs with a wooden 2×4 and his hand over the course of several hours. The firefighter then allegedly pinched and kicked the child. According to public records, the child’s backside was covered in bruises.
The charge the man is facing is child abuse, which is a third degree felony in Jacksonville. “Child abuse” is defined as intentionally inflicting physical or mental injury on a child, intentionally committing an act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, or active encouragement of a child to commit an act that results or could be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a minor.
Corporal punishment, or physical punishment, is still legal in the United States. You are allowed to physically discipline your child. That being said, police are arresting parents at a higher rate in recent years for child abuse charges in Duval County and all over Florida. If a child has ANY mark on them and the child tells authorities that the mark came from physical punishment, the Department of Children and Families and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are most likely going to contact the parent or guardian. It is up to the officer that interviews the parent or guardian to make the call on whether or not to arrest. Out of an abundance of caution, many parents are arrested on this felony charge. Once the arrest is made, a judge make a decision about bond and the parent will have a court date approximately 2 weeks from arrest. This is a critical time. If you have been arrested for child abuse or child neglect, contact an experienced child abuse attorney in Duval County immediately. Just because you have been arrested does not mean that the state attorney’s office will file charges. Whenever anyone is arrested on any felony or misdemeanor in Jacksonville, a prosecutor has the discretion to file or not. A criminal defense lawyer can accumulate mitigating information and provide evidence to present the whole story.