Father's discipline sends son to the hospital
Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- A child abuse case in Hamilton County is raising a lot of questions.
Eyewitness News has learned 24-year-old Larry Nicholson is charged with one count of aggravated child abuse.
Chattanooga Police say Nicholson broke his 8-year-old son's arm Saturday, but never took him to seek care.
The boy's grandmother later stepped in.
Nicholson told police he was only disciplining the child.
Police and child services agree this is clear case of abuse. Friday, the 8-year-old is in his grandmother's care, she goes to court next week to seek custody.
"In a case such as physical abuse, there can be a fine line between what is discipline, corporal punishment versus physical abuse," says Jackie Joley.
Jackie Joley with Department of Child Services agrees that in cases of abuse, the line is sometimes hard to see, then again sometimes not.
"The child stated to the grandmother that the father was spanking him, at some point he threw him down on the floor and into a wall," Sgt. Jerri Weary.
That's what Larry Nicholson's 8-year-old son told his grandmother and police Tuesday. According to reports, it happened at an apartment complex near Highway 58, after the 8-year-old took something belonging to Nicholson.
"In the process of being spanked, his father grabbed his arm too hard," says Weary.
The incident happened over the weekend, but the 8-year-old didn't receive medical treatment until he complained to his grandmother Tuesday. Doctor's at T.C. Thompson determined he had a fractured right arm.
"Yes, we all get angry, but we need to not allow our anger to end up hurting someone else," says Joley.
Joley says good tips for parents include taking a step back from the situation to make sure you never discipline out of anger. Any discipline causing bodily injury to a child is crossing the line.
"Discipline should not injure a child," says Joley.
Nicholson and the 8-year-old's grandmother declined to comment on camera.
Reports show Nicholson admitted to police he went overboard in his discipline.
On the phone, he maintained his innocence.