Father punished for ‘old school’ discipline

LIHUE — A Kilauea man was given probation and a fine Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court for punishing his son by making him walk a mile for not answering his questions — a form of discipline a judge called “old school” and no longer appropriate.

Robert Demond was sentenced to a one-year probation, a $200 fine and to a child parenting class for a misdemeanor charge of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

Demond said he would handle it differently now after going through Family Court, where the case originated on Oct. 17, 2013, and to Circuit Court, where he pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge.

Demond told the judge that it was a common form of punishment when he was a kid and that he didn’t see it as morally wrong or criminal. He had picked his son up from school and questioned him about a matter that came to his attention. When his son didn’t respond, he stopped the vehicle and made him walk home to think about his actions.

“How far did you make him walk?” asked Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

“About a mile,” Demond said.

These are different times, Watanabe said. It is understandable that you became upset with your son, but it is dangerous for children to walk along the highway, and there are predators out there, she said. The age of the child was not revealed in the course of the hearing and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney would not divulge further information.

Defense attorney Margaret Hanson said that Demond has no criminal history and presents no risk to the community. The offense was basically a form of punishment that is no longer considered acceptable by the community.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gary Nelson said the discipline was not an appropriate way for Demond to correct his son’s behavior. Yet, it was clear that the defendant acted with the intent to teach his child a lesson and did not act out of anger.

The state recommended a child parenting course and supports the defendant’s motion for a deferred acceptance of his no contest plea. It allows him to motion the court to expunge the charge from his record after completing his probation.

Watanabe granted the motion.

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