You can’t even beat your kids anymore and then they wonder why they are out of con-
A California district attorney’s office filed two felony charges today against the man caught
on camera beating his stepson with a belt during a game of catch. Anthony Sanchez is charged
with corporal injury to a child and child abuse. The complaint by Imperial County, Calif. Dis-
trict Attorney Gilbert Otero alleges Sanchez inflicted “…cruel and inhuman corporal punishment
and injury…unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering …”
Each charge carries with it a maximum sentence of six years.
In an interview with “20/20″ correspondent Deborah Roberts, taped before the district attorney
filed charges, Childers said: “…the charges in this case… require a finding that my client’s con-
duct would’ve resulted in great bodily injury or death to the child, I don’t think that that can be
met in this case.”
Sanchez will be arraigned on July 10.
Childers also said that Sanchez was a loving father whose actions were misinterpreted.
“This is a case of a video where people interpret it as a father who lost it,” he said. “But this
is a father who was trying to give a child discipline.”
The discipline was not related to playing catch, Childers said. It was related to what the boy,
whose name is Zack, was saying during the game, he said.
“My client’s position … is that discipline is appropriate in certain circumstances,” Childers said,
“and that he had been told that spanking was an effective means for behavior modification with
Zack.” Despite this defense, and despite the fact that, according to Childers, Zack wasn’t hurt,
Sanchez felt remorse, Childers said. “Everybody that has anything to say about him says that
he’s a good guy,” Childers said. “He’s a cool-headed guy, and he’s good with kids.” On June 6,
in Heber, Calif., Oscar Lopez heard a commotion in a neighbor’s yard, saw Sanchez, 34, and
the boy, and started videotaping. On the recording, which Lopez posted on YouTube and gave
to police, when the boy dropped the ball, Sanchez approached and whipped him with his
belt. Lopez soon began shouting at Sanchez to stop, and the two men argued. Sanchez, who at
the time of the incident was an elected official directing a state water agency, was arrested on
suspicion of felony child abuse. He has since resigned his office. Psychiatrist Janet Taylor said
Sanchez’ getting caught “losing it” could end up helping him and Zack in the long term.
“What Mr. Sanchez can do is take a step back and say, ‘Thank goodness it was caught; I’m going
to get help; I’m not going to replicate this, and my family can be emotionally healthier in years
to come,” Taylor told Roberts. That best-case scenario notwithstanding, psychiatrist and author
Gail Saltz said kids of parents who “lose it” don’t just fear them — they emulate them.
“[Losing It] teaches [kids] that an adult is able to act disrespectfully, violently, aggressively,”
Saltz said. “All that does is teach them to do the same thing. … Children don’t do what you say;
children do what you do.”
While Sanchez and Zack were playing in their backyard, parents often are seen losing it in more
formal sports venues, from youth soccer matches to Little League games. Bad sportsmanship
among parents is such a problem that Little League Baseball produced a public service ann-
ouncement to address the issue.