Mommy’s Little Helper: Georgia Man Charged With Slapping Toddler to Stop Her From Crying at Wal-Mart

slapper_244633lThere is an interesting criminal and torts case out of Georgia. Roger Stephens, 61, is accused of slapping a 2-year-old child across the face when she would not stop crying. That is bad enough, but the child was not his.

The mother told police that her child was crying in a Stone Mountain Wal-Mart when Stephens, 61, walked up and declared “if you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.” When the child continued to cry, the mother said that in a different aisle Stephens grabbed her and slapped the child across the face four or five times. She says that Stephens then told her, See, I told you I would shut her up,.”

A bystander then stepped forward and grabbed Stephens and held him for police. Stephens reportedly apologized to the mother after police arrived, but it still constitutes a classic crime as well as a tort of assault and battery.

He has been charged with felony cruelty to children.

For the full story, click here and here.

83 thoughts on “Mommy’s Little Helper: Georgia Man Charged With Slapping Toddler to Stop Her From Crying at Wal-Mart”

  1. What stranger did I treat like an idiot? I guess opinions are only allowed to be expressed by a few. And anyone who disagrees is wrong. just check this out and I rest: My old high School, Kensington High in Philadelphia, has a graduation rate of less than 50%. Less than half. At the end of my old street is the Frankford elevated train tracks. Walk down Kensington Ave. and it is loaded with hookers, junkies, homeless and alkies. The city has a murder rate among the highest in the nation. Drugs are everywhere, especially prescriptions. The neighborhood was a white slum back then and still is now, what’s left of it. This neighborhood may be the exception, but this was my reality growing up. There were no white picket fences and apple trees at the end of the lane. The sun never even shown on the avenue, with the EL blocking the view. The same internet anonimity you speak of goes for everyone, including yourself.

  2. NT,

    Well shoot, you’ve convince me. A family living in poverty with an alcoholic parent who you remember (several decades after the events in question, during which you were a child who are known for paying attention to the parenting techniques of all the adults in their neighbor hood) as being somewhat in denial about the behavior of his children had several people in it who went to jail. Therefore, modern parents don’t know what they’re doing.

    Or, you could be a man who thanks to the anonymity of the internet feels free to: make pompous, arrogant and overly simplistic claims about societal problems; treat complete strangers like idiots, while bemoaning the lack of manners in society today; shake your fist impotently at those dang youngsters and there crazy ideas about peace, free love, and hairstyles.

    Everyone else:

    I don’t know why, but for some reason the people walking by and shouting “I know better than everyone else” really bug me on this issue, my apologies for getting a little more acrid then usual. I’m done.

  3. Regardless of one’s own attitudes about child rearing and discipline, the point of the story is this:

    1. The child is 2 years old.

    2. The moron is 61 years old.

    3. The child isn’t the moron’s.

    His actions are neither understandable nor excusable under any conceivable set of facts. No, it shouldn’t be a felony, but it’s close enough to merit a timeout in a small cell.

  4. I will openly admit that I will let my kids cry it out when I am grocery shopping. If my baby’s diaper has been changed, I have given her a snack and a drink, and given her toys to play with, or even medicine to sooth those new teeth pains, and she still fusses, I continue my shopping.

    I’ve already made time around their nap schedules to grocery shop, loaded up two kids, driven 20 minutes to town, found a parking spot, carried one kid in while holding the hand of the other who is whining to be carried as well, and of course while all this is happening, everyone decides that now is a good time to call my phone (I ignore all calls while shopping!). So I am not going to leave my near full grocery cart because my 18 month old decides to throw a hissy fit. She can deal with it. And if someone doesn’t like it, then they can just get over it. And if they tell me to shut my kid up or they’ll do it for me, I’ll run them over with my shopping cart!! (I’m kidding!) I’d actually tell them that maybe THEY should leave.

    I never take my kids to the movies (It’s too expensive anyways) and we rarely ever eat out and if we do, it’s usually at a pizza place anyways and my kids happily eat that stuff.

    Personally, I believe that by leaving the store when your kid is fussy like that let’s them have control over any situation. They will quicky realize that all they have to do to get out of a boring situation is to throw a fit and they will get their way. Kids are a lot smarter than they are given credit for.

  5. life was simpler 30-40 years ago, and there seemed to be a mom at home in the houses I frequented. With more negative imagery aimed at today’s teens and pre-teens and more single parent households the need for stronger parenting has increased. The neighborhood where I grew up was rough and poor. The verbal warnings didn’t go too far back then. I can name at least ten kids from our crowd that didn’t live to be thirty. Overdoses, shootings, suicide and two died in prison. The ‘K.’ family alone had three out of five of their kids in prison at once, one died in prison from injesting some kind of synthetic drug, the other brother of AIDS. Their father was a drunk but always had the ‘not my kid’ atitude when they were first locked up. Depending on where you live and the age of the kids, sometimes you need tough love. Peer pressure can be stronger than dad’s words.

  6. Puzzling,

    Well I’ll be. That’s a bit more wide spread then I expected, and inexcusable. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. You’ll find few stronger opponents to unnecessary violence than myself.

    Not Trashy,

    So to sum up: Things were better when you were young? It’s amazing how many of the world’s woes could be solved just by going back 40-50 years.

  7. 1965 : we had black and white tv with knobs (no remote) and about 7 stations. We had board games, AM radio, family sat together and had dinner.

    NO: VCR, DVD, cell phones, internet, cable TV, MP3, computers, rap music. The inclusion of these influences on this generation must require more parenting, not less. The hands-off approach of prior generations may be inadequate with all of this junk these kids are exposed to today. Not too many positive role models on MTV or BET music videos.

  8. I was a supervisor at a city recreation dept. pool. The female lifeguard tells four boys they have to leave for breaking the rules. Kids are aged 13 to 15. The kids respond by cursing the girl out with the foulest language. Then they go home and bring back mom and dad. The parents let loose with the nastiest language before even asking a queation. I have to intervene and I back the lifeguard’s side of the story. They are all told to leave. Dad says he’ll be waiting for me. No problem. Bottom line is, parents set terrible example and really just want the kids at the pool so they don’t have to watch them. Be a parent. If I tell you the kid calls the girl an “‘F-in c**t, among other things, at least question the kid. Don’t encourage him.

  9. Kid Kicker,

    These assaults on defenseless children in the name of “discipline” are given cover by the government, who also has the power to compel these same children to attend schools in which they can be brutalized directly by government employees. That people would defend the right to inflict pain and serious injury on children is truly barbaric, yet this continues to happen every day by otherwise thinking people.

    States like Massachusetts have banned corporal punishment. Yet, Massachusetts allows children to be outfitted with shock belts so that staff in so-called treatment centers can administer excruciating amounts of electricity to children as young as 9 at their discretion. These children can be made to wear shock belts at all times, including when they sleep or shower. In some instances children are bound by all four limbs face down on a board and the shocks are administered by staff they cannot see. This is nothing less than torture of children sanctioned by the government.

    Children own their own bodies. Their creators do not own them. The government does not own them. They alone own them.

  10. Parents just assume ‘somebody else’ will do the disciplining that schools used to and they got lazy. Internet, DVD players, cable TV came along and kids are exposed to more bad influences. Yet, parents put cable TV, game systems, computers in their kids bedrooms. There not helping the kids unless the kids are supervised. Part of it is indifference, part of it is laziness. Maybe one big factor, at least in this city, is the proliferation of single-parent household. And those that have both parents living at home, both of the adults are working. The days of the stay-at-home mom seem numbered.

  11. Gyges,

    You asked for an example of government employees being allowed to assault children in the public schools. I found this graphic that shows where this is most prevalent in the United States:

    Human Rights Watch recently did a story on these abuses:

    From the HRW article:

    A Mississippi high school girl observed that she was paddled “at least three times a week” in the ninth and tenth grades. She estimated that “at least 60” students are paddled daily at her school, noting, “A lot of kids get paddled. Every class block you will hear a list of students being called [to the office for paddling] on the intercom.”

    We received reports of students of all ages receiving corporal punishment, from pre-kindergarten to high school. A Mississippi middle school boy recalled receiving three blows as a kindergartener for making another child eat dirt in the playground. Another Mississippi kindergartener was beaten three times for stepping on another student’s feet. An east Texas kindergartener was paddled for pulling a chair out from underneath another student. Among our interviewees, paddling was no less common in older grades. We received reports of paddlings administered to a twelfth-grade girl in Mississippi, an eleventh-grade girl in Texas, and a 17-year-old boy in Mississippi…

  12. A quick question for those of you calling for a return to the good old ways of parenting:

    If those methods worked so well, how come they produced a generation of adults that according to you can’t raise children?

  13. Kid Kicker, I assumed your story was for real. I lean away from the Spoil the Rod theory and believe just about everyone deserves a foot up their patoot every once in awhile. Go anywhere, especially unrban areas, and kids of all races have no respect for anybody. They have the foulest mouths, do just about nothing constructive and go ballistic if you say something to them. Some need some teeth knocked out. Ever see the show “BULLY BEATDOWN” on MTV? They find the neighborhood bully who has made everyone’s life a living hell and put him in the ring with a pro boxer. After being on the receiving end of an ass-whooping all of a sudden their attitudes ahve changed. The nuns used to whack the hell out of me. And when I got home, it was my parents turn. But guess what? I ACCEPTED MY FATE because it was the result of my actions. In general, it’s time for parents to grow up. Did you raise your parents or did your parents raise you? NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Stop being so liberal and get the kids under control before drugs, booze or violence does them in.

  14. Puzzling,

    Are you saying that teachers and principals are allowed to hit students at public schools? I’m going to have to ask for an example…

    Kid Kicker,

    You don’t get to touch other people without their permission. Kid, Adult, Old guys, it really doesn’t matter. I mean, we have types of contact that we as a society pretty much universally just assume that we generally have permission to do them (hand shakes, hands on the shoulder, etc.) and others that we allow for whatever reason (most contact between parents, self defense, etc.). I don’t know of anyone that includes slapping a stranger on the face in either of those lists.

    My bad behavior doesn’t excuse yours.

  15. Hey “puzzling”, that’s a bit overboard, don’t you think? I was spanked as a child, and even got rapped on the hands by my elderly piano teacher. I didn’t like it, but I never thought I was being “assaulted”. I deserved the spankings because I did something wrong. I’ve had my mouth washed out with a bar of soup because I lied about something. I didn’t like it but I never thought I was being “assaulted”. We’ve got to stop giving kids the idea that anytime someone touches them, it’s a horrible thing. It’s not, we as a society have turned it into that. God forbid someone touches your poor lil child, for crying out loud.

    Government has NO right to come into my home and tell me that I cannot discipline my kids effectively. Time outs? Who came up with that lame idea? Where is the line drawn in regards to physical discipline of children in the home? Abuse? Hardly. I never felt abused when I was spanked.

    And “not trashy’… my story about kicking a kid was sarcastic to make a point. I don’t talk on the phone in stores or anywhere that people can hear my conversations. Like you, I can’t stand it when people do that. It’s totally rude, but these days people do all kinds of rude things and think nothing of it. And this is what our kids see as being OK. So they grow up and do the same things. And no one tells the kids that what they’re doing is wrong. Certainly not the parents. They wouldn’t dare tell their little angels that they are imperfect in any way. Not anyone else either, because some of you parents would probably pull out a gun and shoot the messenger or beat him senseless if someone told your kid he was acting like an inconsiderate jerk.

    Control your kids in public. Make them behave. Be responsible parents. Teach your kids responsibility. Teach them consideration for others.

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