August 24th, 2011
06:33 PM ET

Alaska's 'Hot-sauce Mom' convicted of child abuse

An Alaska mother's segment on "Dr. Phil" has landed her with the possibility of a jail sentence.

Jessica Beagley was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse Tuesday. In November, she appeared on the talk show to discuss a video she had submitted of her disciplinary method, in which she had her then 6-year-old son hold hot sauce in his mouth and take a cold shower, said Anchorage prosecutor Cynthia Franklin. The video, which Beagley had e-mailed to the show in November 2009, ignited a debate about whether the tactic constituted abuse.

In the episode, which aired on November 17, 2010, host Phil McGraw challenges Beagley, calling the discipline over-the-top, outrageous and abusive. Authorities launched an investigation on the same day the episode, called "Mommy Confessions," aired.

Beagley's sentencing is scheduled for Monday. She could face a up to year in jail and fine of up to $10,000. Franklin said she was unable to provide any more commentary on the case, because Beagley's sentence is still pending.

The segment featured a home movie of Beagley punishing her son for getting in trouble at school and lying about it. In confessional-style explanations, Beagley provided commentary, saying she had tried other methods of discipline, including time outs and spankings, but to no avail.

"He'll turn and look at you like, 'Is that all you've got?'" Beagley said.

Beagley said on the episode that she had first tried putting soap in her son's mouth, but it had no effect.

"I want him to obey and listen and to understand the consequences of his choices," Beagley said.

On the website for "Dr. Phil," McGraw appears in a supplemental video, calling Beagley's case "extreme" and saying that Beagley needs "a wake-up call."

"I hope it makes all of us stop and grade our papers about how we're doing as parents," McGraw said.

According to a Ria Novosti article in January, the month Beagley was charged, Russian authorities in the United States are monitoring the case because Beagley adopted her son and his twin brother from Russia.

Beagley's lawyer, William Ingaldson, said a representative from the Russian consulate in Seattle had since visited the family and was satisfied with the home environment.

The Beagleys, who have six children, adopted the twins from Russia when they were 5, Ingaldson said. The boy who was punished in the video has reactive attachment disorder, a behavioral problem that makes effective discipline difficult, as the child has a "survival" mentality, Ingaldson said. The disorder can occur when a child does not bond with a parent within the early years of life and affects the sense of right and wrong.

Ingaldson said his client mistakenly went on "Dr. Phil" to find a way to effectively get through to her son, knowing her methods were not working.

"The show isn't about getting you help," Ingaldson said. "It's about ratings."

Since Beagley appeared on the show, she and her son have been going to therapy and the boy's behavior is showing improvements, Ingaldson said. The family will make a decision about an appeal after Monday's sentencing.

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Filed under: Alaska • Child safety • Courts • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ JIF... LMAO.... Dude you are on it...

    August 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    No harm, no harm...
    No harm intended, Cesar.

    August 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©


    I'll bet that Cesar found it funny...
    He doesn't strike me as one who enjoys being miserable.
    There are many who thrive on drama and grief, whereas Cesar seems to be one who is content with a cold Bud Light (in a glass) from the Olive Garden.

    I like Cesar's little quips; I look forward to his posts.

    Btw, I adore fancy restaurants.
    It's good to be Queen!

    August 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tupack Obama

    @Cesar: Your name is Cesar not Caesar, so no you are not.
    @Hotsauce policeman: Hi Philip. Molesting children isn't important to CNN or Hollywood. Once the crusaders find out who the kids are they will punish the kids for engaging in sodomy.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HLN

    Hot sauce? Cold shower? If you wanna put hot sauce in the mouth of an adopted child from Russia you should've just left him in the motherland. Poor kid.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ...

    I honestly believe international adoptions should be banned. There is a reason why this woman could not legally adopt in this country and she just demonstrated it on tape.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gatelock

      Wow. You are right! There was a good reason.

      August 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Satan

    I adopt kids too.. I truly enjoy watching a child grow as a person. I cover all the bases by brainwashing them with adult films and violent material, then I disguise myself as the child's peers so I can expose him to more stuff he/she shouldn't be doing. This allows me to confront and punish them, so they know these things are wrong. I continue on with this into early adulthood. I chastise and yet make myself available for them. It's the best of both worlds. When all else fails I bust out the Dave's Insanity Sauce.. That's what he gets for being a b_a_s_t_a_r_d..

    August 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gung hoe

    Im glad she got busted I think the punishment for her is just what she was doing to her son It always amazes me who god gifts with children A BIG FAT HELLO TO JIF BANASY CESAR JAZZZZ FROM a different blog

    August 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    The best consolation is that those little ones will have no memory of this evil world once God comes for his children ....

    August 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Hey, gung hoe!
    What's the haps?

    August 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz

    Hello again gung hoe... and I am amazed at the authorities that deem these people as fit to raise kids...

    August 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Satan

    August 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©



    August 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    Weirdos is more like it....

    August 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzzzzzzz

    Gods words to his children have always been loving and kind... I guess that's why he's such a perfect example of how to parent ... Peace el al ... did I say that right ... LOL

    August 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
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