Woman Convicted of Child Abuse in Ploy to Appear on 'Dr. Phil'
An Alaska woman was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse Tuesday in what prosecutors say was a ploy to appear on Dr. Phil.
Jessica Beagley forced her adopted son to keep hot sauce in his mouth for more than a minute and made him stand in a cold shower when he misbehaved. The punishments were videotaped and used on a Oct. 2010 "Mommy Confessions" segment of the syndicated advice show.
Prosecutors said Beagley had first contacted the show in 2009 to participate in an "Angry Moms" discussion, reports the Associated Press, and had her 10-year-old daughter record her punishing the boy a year and a half later after producers said they needed footage of her disciplining her son.
Beagley's defense team contended that she used unconventional means of punishment because nothing else had stopped the boy from misbehaving and lying. Defense attorney William Ingaldson said Beagley would never have been charged of abuse had she not been on television.
Beagley faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail, a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years probation.
Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin said in her closing argument, "There is no reason in the world why someone has to hurt a child to get on a reality show."
A Dr. Phil spokeperson refused comment to the Associated Press.