One tricky area of Texas child abuse law involves what is and what is not appropriate when disciplining a child. In Texas, the law allows for the physical discipline of a child when it is "reasonable"; however, there is no definitive way to determine what is reasonable and what is actually abuse. This grey area in our legal system came into play recently in Austin when a woman disciplined a child with a belt and a hanger.
A four-year-old girl's aunt noticed the child had bruising on her arms and face, so she was taken to Dell Children's Hospital for possible child abuse. The young girl told a Child Protection Services investigator that her mother's girlfriend had hit her with a belt and a hanger. The woman, 21-year-old Dequintashon Mosley, would allegedly tell the little girl to take her pants and underwear off before hitting her. The girl said the most recent incident happened after a vacuum broke with Mosley was babysitting her in East Austin.
When confronted by authorities, Mosley initially denied hurting the child. However, after a while, she began to cry and admitted that she hits the girl with a hanger when she does something "really bad." She also told the investigators that she gets angry very quickly and sometimes blacks out.
What Mosley admitted to is in line with her past brushes with the law. In 2011, she was arrested for assault with bodily injury/family violence and an emergency protection order was issued. In 2010, she was arrested for attempted assault of a public servant when she struck a juvenile detention officer while at the Travis County Garner-Betts Detention Facility.
Austin police have charged Mosley with injury to a child, which is a third-degree felony.