Thurston County Watch

A 36-year-old Yelm man could be facing a felony charge after he allegedly spanked a 2-year-old child with a wooden spoon, causing severe bruising that resulted in the child’s mother taking him to Providence St. Peter Hospital.

The man, who the Nisqually Valley News is not identifying to protect the identity of the alleged victim, told an officer he spanked the child because he was crying and screaming when he was supposed to be napping in the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 30.

When the child’s mother took him to the hospital the following day, an officer and doctors documented severe, deep purple bruising on his buttocks. The largest bruise measured 6.5 inches.

Child Protective Services became involved, though the boy was allowed to remain with his mother.

During a subsequent interview with the 36-year-old Yelm man, he admitted to spanking the child with a wooden spoon because he wouldn’t nap. He said he was using methodology from “Focus on the Family,” which teaches consistency when using discipline. He said he wasn’t angry while spanking the child. He said the child was not wearing a diaper at the time and the spanking with the spoon was on bare skin. He said he felt bad about the spanking after seeing the bruises.

“(He) said after seeing his butt he wouldn’t do it again,” the officer wrote.

The officer ultimately determined that the injury to the boy warranted a charge.

“I believe that (the suspect) was acting with the right mindset to discipline his child but the conclusion of the use of force was excessive,” an officer wrote in a report. “The injuries (the victim) sustained as a result of the spankings was unnecessary. The picture evidence shows marks that are beyond what was and is reasonable and transient.”

Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil said it’s a “tough” case and that ultimately it will be up to prosecutors to determine if the Yelm man will face charges.

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