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Adrian Peterson Indicted on Child Abuse Charges; Freed on Bond

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Football star Adrian Peterson was booked and released from a Texas jail over the weekend after being indicted on charges of negligent injury to a child.

Peterson's indictment follows an investigation into injuries suffered by Peterson's 4-year-old son when the Minnesota Vikings running back allegedly disciplined the boy, reports Houston's KILT radio. Peterson admitted to police that he twice gave the boy a "whooping" with a "switch" -- a colloquialism for striking someone with a tree branch stripped of its leaves -- and told police he felt "very confident with my actions because I know my intent."

Police, however, believe Peterson took his discipline too far, crossing the line into child abuse.

Injuries Include Cuts, Bruises on Legs, Buttocks, Scrotum

Police say the injuries to Peterson's son were inflicted in May when the child was visiting Peterson in Texas. The child's injuries include multiple cuts and bruises to his back, buttocks, legs, ankles, and scrotum, according to KILT radio. A doctor who examined the child after he returned to Minnesota said it appeared that the child may have also been whipped with a cord, such as an extension cord, but Peterson denied using anything other than a switch on the child, recounting his own experiences being struck with an extension cord as a child.

However, Peterson did admit that one of the marks on the child was more severe than any discipline he had inflicted in the past. Peterson's son also reportedly told police that Peterson had previously hit him in the face, and that he was afraid Peterson would do so again if the child reported the incident to police.

In addition, the child reported that Peterson had used a belt to discipline him in the past, and "has a whooping room" in which the discipline allegedly occurred.

'Reasonable' Discipline

Texas, like many states, allows parents to use corporal punishment on their children within certain parameters. The Texas Family Code specifically excludes "reasonable discipline" from being considered child abuse.

But in cases where the child suffers substantial physical harm -- whether inflicted intentionally, recklessly, or, in Peterson's case, negligently -- a person can be charged under the Texas Penal Code with injury to a child. Negligent injury to a child is considered a state jail felony in Texas, which can be punished by up to two years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.

Peterson is currently free on $15,000 bond.

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