Humorous prank or child abuse? Is it possible to be both at the same time?
Andre Curry, the father behind a viral image of a bound 22-month-old baby, was found guilty of charges of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery today, reports the Chicago Tribune. He faces up to seven years in prison for the two convictions. In announcing the verdict, Judge Lawrence Flood stated:
“To use a child…as a toy or a prop in an odd attempt at humor is conduct of an insulting or provoking nature.”
Does he deserve the wrath? Both Curry and his family maintain that the photo was a playful prank. The child was never in danger. He was kidding with his daughter when he used blue painter’s tape to bind her ankles and wrists and cover her mouth.
While the image is certainly inflammatory, and appears on its face to be a child in danger, if the child truly wasn’t being harmed, does he deserve multiple felony charges?
It was almost certainly a joke. The judge even labeled it as an “attempt a humor.” The child wasn’t being intentionally abused. Yet, binding a child’s hands and feet, and covering her mouth, certainly isn’t safe. One wonders if the charges he faced reflect the reality of the situation.
One of the charges, aggravated domestic battery, applies when a person impedes the normal breathing of an individual by blocking the nose or throat. Based solely on the literal interpretation of the statute, Curry is guilty. He put tape over his child’s mouth.
But was that the intent of the statute? The statute was intended to stop domestic violence. It refers to “strangulation” which is then defined as either applying pressure to the throat or blocking the nose or mouth. The statute wasn’t intended to apply to careless and stupid pranks. It was intended to apply to wife-beaters that choke their loved ones.
Though the newspapers have reported that he could receive only probation as a first time offender, the statute requires a mandatory term of imprisonment of “not less than 60 consecutive days” in addition to any term of probation. Plus a conviction under the statute bars him from ever owning a firearm and could affect other rights, such as the right to vote. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 29.
- Consult a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Father Who Bound Daughter, then Posted it on Facebook, Guilty of Battery (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Toddler Found Strolling the Streets Twice, Plus Bonus DUI! (FindLaw’s Chicago Family Law Blog)
- How Culpable is a Mother for Boyfriend’s Abuse of Her Child? (FindLaw’s Chicago Family Law Blog)
Child Abuse or Child’s Play? Man’s ‘Funny’ Photo Nets 2 Felonies