Jury to decide whether paddling was child abuse - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Jury to decide whether paddling was child abuse


POYNETTE, Wis. (AP) -- A Columbia County jury will be asked to decide whether a pastor who spanked his 12-year-old son with a paddle committed child abuse.

A judge ruled Thursday that the case against 44-year-old Barry W. Barnett Jr. of Poynette will head to trial.

Barnett stood mute Thursday on a charge of felony child abuse so the court entered a not-guilty plea.

The criminal complaint says Barnett spanked the boy twice, leaving purplish bruises about four inches wide. But Barnett's attorney, Gerald Mowris, says photographs showed only red marks.

The boy testified last week that the paddling hurt "a little" and said he and his father cried during the spanking.

A doctor testifying for the defense said he didn't think the paddling amounted to abuse.

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