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Dad Throws Toddler in Pool, Gets Charged With Child Abuse

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on May 22, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

An Arizona dad who police allege threw his 23-month-old daughter into a pool to teach her a lesson about water safety ended up getting taught a lesson of his own.

Corey McCarthy, 23, of Phoenix, is being charged with felony child abuse.

Why do authorities feel like this dad's pool punishment was more akin to water torture?

Captured on Video

The entire incident was captured on surveillance video. The video shows a young girl who police say is McCarthy's daughter wandering by herself near a swimming pool. McCarthy is seen holding his daughter over the water, eventually throwing her in face-first while a woman, who police say was McCarthy's girlfriend, swims in to rescue the child.

You can see a clip in this report by Phoenix's KNXV-TV:

Police say that McCarthy was teaching his daughter a lesson about playing near the water after she threw a 5-week-old puppy into the pool where it had drowned.

KNXV-TV reports that the mother of the child reported the incident to police, who arrested McCarthy on suspicion of child abuse.

Arizona's Child Abuse Law

Under Arizona's Criminal Code, any person caring for a child "who causes or permits the person or health of the child to be injured or who causes or permits a child to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child is endangered" can be found guilty of child abuse.

If the abuse is considered "likely to produce death or serious physical injury" and done intentionally, it can be considered a Class 2 felony.

McCarthy will no doubt argue that he was merely disciplining his child. But under another section of the Arizona criminal code, physical force by a parent against a child is criminal unless it is "reasonable and appropriate" and "to the extent reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline."

In this case, police told KNXV that McCarthy's water safety lesson was not "reasonable." McCarthy's next court date is set for May 27.

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