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Politician jailed after young daughter reports spanking to teacher, says he disciplined her for ‘acting out’

A California state assemblyman was arrested on child abuse charges Monday after his 7-year-old daughter reportedly told a teacher about a spanking he gave her.

Joaquin Arambula told The Fresno Bee Wednesday that he spanked his eldest daughter because she “acted out.” He claims the following day, his daughter was angry about the spanking and told her teacher, who in turn reported it to police. He claimed the Sunday night spanking was a “last resort” only used once a year in their household.

“It wasn’t the best night for all of us, and as a parent, I think most of us have felt those times when we can feel a bit overwhelmed,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “My daughter, in the midst of (her) acting out, I disciplined her as a consequence to something she did.”

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While he couldn’t provide many details surrounding the incident due to privacy laws, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told The Bee Thursday that the 7-year-old suffered an injury that wasn’t on her buttocks. His comments directly contradict statements Arambula made a day earlier.

“It is important for people to know that when you discipline a child, and you spank them on the buttocks, it is perfectly allowable by law,” Dyer said. “However, when the level of discipline rises to the level where there is an injury, then that is a violation of the law.”

Arambula has since denounced Dyer’s comments, noting that CPS dismissed concerns of child abuse and returned his three daughters, ages 7, 6, and 3, to the couple’s custody Wednesday. Despite this, Dyer’s made it clear that he intends to see the lawmaker prosecuted for child abuse.

He said, “Based on the interviews that we’ve conducted, and the evidence that we have, we will be submitting this investigation for the purposes of pursuing prosecution. We will continue to perform an impartial investigation, and we intend to pursue prosecution regardless of his status in the community.”

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[Featured image: Joaquin Arambula/handout]