Casper Man Charged with Child Abuse Bound Over to District Court
A Casper man arrested for child abuse in February appeared in Natrona County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing today, March 21. This is a felony charge punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The incident is alleged to have occurred between Casper and Thermopolis after John Buck had an argument with his wife.
According to the affidavit accompanying the case:
Buck was driving his son and step-daughter to Casper.
Buck asked his son to turn off a gaming device, and when the boy did not comply quickly enough, Buck pulled over the vehicle, ordered him out, and hit him on the buttocks 15 times with an aluminum snow brush. When the snow-brush broke, he grabbed a second snow-brush and hit the child five more times on the buttocks.
In today's hearing Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri called an investigator with the Natrona County Sheriff's Office, Lisa Lauderdale, as a witness.
She corroborated the facts of the affidavit, stating that she was concerned for the victim.
Buck's Public Defender, Tim Cotton, asked Lauderdale if she knew that Buck's wife had gone before a magistrate asking for a protection order from her husband, including the alleged snow-brush incident, and the magistrate dismissed everything, granting visitation.
Lauderdale said she was aware, but that it is possible he didn't know all the facts.
Cotton went on to say, "folks can discipline their children -- reasonable corporal punishment," explaining that children have been spanked with spoons, belts, and even flip-flops. "There's no prohibition on snow-brushes."
Lauderdale stated that the force was excessive and "unreasonable" considering that the aluminum brush broke.
Cotton asked if the sheriffs retrieved the snow-brushes as evidence, but they did not.
"We can all agree a 13-year-old kid sometimes needs discipline" argued the defense attorney.
Cotton posited that the only evidence to suggest a spanking occurred was from the estranged ex-wife, but Lauderdale added that forensic interviews also took place.
In closing, Judge Brian Christiansen said that the bruising (documented by Hot Springs County Sheriff's Officers in photographs) and statements from the victims were enough to bind the case over to District Court for a jury trial.
Bond Conditions will continue. He will have an arraignment at a later date, which is usually in about one month.
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