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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Mother is acquitted in girl's genital piercing
She wanted to curb the teenager's sex life.
Published October 27, 2007
NAPLES - A woman who had her 13-year-old daughter's genitalia pierced was acquitted of aggravated child abuse Thursday.
The 39-year-old Naples woman wanted to curb her teen's sex life and the piercing was intended to make intercourse uncomfortable. She also had her daughter's head shaved to make her unattractive to boys.
The five-man, one-woman jury deliberated for about three hours before deciding the woman's actions didn't involve punishment or malicious intent, or cause permanent damage or disfigurement.
Judges, on the other hand, had previously rejected two proposed plea agreements as too lenient.
The mother, whose name is being withheld to protect her daughter's identity, could have gotten 30 years in prison on the charges.
The girl, now 16, was not in court for the verdict. Her guardian declined comment.
"She was trying to protect me, but it hurt me," the girl testified earlier this week. "It not only hurt me physically, but it hurt me mentally. ... That's emotionally scarring. That's physical abuse."
But jurors said they understood the mother's perspective.
"Maybe it was not the best decision in the world," foreman Colin Kelly said afterward. "But the intent was to try to stop a girl who was completely out of control. ... Are you going to put every parent in jail for making a bad decision?"
The woman said she was troubled by her daughter's promiscuity and rebellious nature.
Prosecutors characterized the mother's subsequent actions as mutilation and retaliatory because the girl's sexual partners allegedly included the mother's boyfriend.
Defense attorneys argued that the girl agreed to the piercing to help rebuild her mother's trust and no disfigurement resulted from it.
Child welfare officials were called after the girl became infected from the piercing.
Tammy "Tattoo Tammy" Meredith, 43, who did the piercing in her home, was sentenced to a year in jail for her role. An arrest warrant has been issued for the mother's boyfriend for allegedly having sex with the girl.