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Woman may see jail time for disciplining with hot sauce

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011 5:30 a.m. CDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A woman who squirted hot sauce into the mouth of her adopted Russian son for lying about getting in trouble in school was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor child abuse in what prosecutors said was a ploy to get on the “Dr. Phil” TV show.

Jessica Beagley, 36, made a videotape of how she punished the boy and submitted it to the show. The tape shows Beagley yelling at the crying boy, then tipping his chin up and pouring hot sauce in his mouth.

Beagley then had the screaming boy stand in a cold shower for sword-fighting with pencils in school.

Both actions were recorded on a videotape submitted to the “Dr. Phil” show. Anchorage police got calls from viewers after the show aired in October.

Neither Beagley nor her husband showed any emotion when the six-person jury announced its decision. The couple walked quickly from the courtroom and down a set of stairs without responding to questions from reporters.

Jessica Beagley could face the maximum sentence of one year in jail, a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years of probation when she is sentenced Monday, said District Judge David Wallace. She remains free without bail because the case is a misdemeanor.

Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin also left the courtroom without commenting.

Beagley and her husband, Gary, an Anchorage police officer, adopted the twins in 2008 when they were 5 years old. The boys had already spent three years in an orphanage. When located by Russian authorities, their family was living in a shack and the twins were sleeping on shelves in an armoire.

One of the twins made a fairly easy adjustment to his new home in Alaska, but the other exhibited behavioral problems that included lying.

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