LOGAN — As charges were filed this week against four North Logan residents accused of abusing a seven-year-old child, people are asking if spanking is considered abuse.
Cache County Attorney James Swink said there are times a child may be spanked by a parent, enforcing the rules of a home.
“The law does allow for that,” said Swink. “It does not allow for multiple injuries or for multiple adults, inflicting injury on a child at the same time. That is outside the spectrum of the law.”
In the case of the four North Logan residents, the child was reportedly whipped by the four adults in a type of ritual called the “whipping tunnel.” In this type of punishment, the child would be forced to crawl underneath the adults as they stood above him and spanked him with their hand or an object.
Swink said this reportedly happened multiple times. “When there are multiple bruises and a child is subject to ongoing physical pain or physical bruises. That is what the law prohibits.”
Swink said he’s troubled by public statements the suspects have made saying they don’t feel this kind of punishment is abusive.
The child reportedly had multiple layers of bruising on his body when he was taken into state custody by Child and Family Services.
The child’s mother Cindy Bullock, 33, her boyfriend Merritt Smith, 31, along with Quinton James, 31, and Bonnie Third, 54, were all charged Wednesday with second-degree felony child abuse charges.
Smith and Bullock have also been charged with retaliation against a witness, a third-degree felony.
The four have been ordered to appear in 1st District Court in June.