Stranger hits crying toddler at Georgia Wal-mart!!!

Erinn - posted on 09/03/2009 ( 232 moms have responded )

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OMG that is totally uncalled for!!!! What is your opinion??

By Frank James



We've all heard of people like babysitters abusing small children when the kids' parents are away. But how many of us have heard of a stranger abusing a child before the parent's very eyes?





Roger Stephens, alleged Wal-Mart child slapper. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department)



That apparently is what happened in a Wal-Mart in an Atlanta suburb. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:



A Gwinnett County man is in custody accused of slapping a stranger's crying toddler in a Stone Mountain Wal-Mart on Monday.

Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said "if you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you," according to a police report.

A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.

Stephens then told Mathews, "See, I told you I would shut her up," according to the report.

A bystander held Stephens until store security came to assist, according to a WSB-TV report.

When police arrived, Stephens said that he slapped the child and that he apologized to Mathews, according to the report.

Stephens was charged with felony cruelty to children...





OMG that is totally uncalled for!!!! What is your opinion??

By Frank James



We've all heard of people like babysitters abusing small children when the kids' parents are away. But how many of us have heard of a stranger abusing a child before the parent's very eyes?





Roger Stephens, alleged Wal-Mart child slapper. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department)



That apparently is what happened in a Wal-Mart in an Atlanta suburb. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:



A Gwinnett County man is in custody accused of slapping a stranger's crying toddler in a Stone Mountain Wal-Mart on Monday.

Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said "if you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you," according to a police report.

A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.

Stephens then told Mathews, "See, I told you I would shut her up," according to the report.

A bystander held Stephens until store security came to assist, according to a WSB-TV report.

When police arrived, Stephens said that he slapped the child and that he apologized to Mathews, according to the report.

Stephens was charged with felony cruelty to children...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

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Ok so I'm going to have to play devils advocate here since nobody has touched on this subject: Why didn't the mom leave the store if her child did not stop crying. They said that it was several aisles later that he grabbed the child. His actions were completely un-called for, but why keep a child in the store who has been screaming for quite some time. I would take my daughter out of the store and take care of whatever is causing her to scream and then finish my shopping later!

[deleted account]

Brandi, Cherity and Maggie, Surely you would agree that we the parents reserve the right to parent our children however we see fit (provided we don't abuse them) that mother could have had many reasons for not leaving the store, maybe she was trying to teach the child that they can't get there own way by screaming and crying, maybe the child was hungry and the mom needed to buy some formula so she could fed him/her...



If parents left a store everytime their child had a temper tantrum or crying fit they would never be able to finish a shoping trip or teach their children the approperate way to behave in public.



Whatever was happening that man had absoulty no right to hit that child and I don't believe that mothers should have to leave a store because their child is crying, how rediculas.

Stephanie - posted on 09/03/2009

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I have got to say that of course it was way uncalled for, and he will get what he deserves. My question is where was the mom that he could pick her up and slap her several times. If someone tried picking up my child in astore they would be on the ground before they got him out of the seat. Third to those who say she should have left the store because she was screaming, it's not always the right thing to do. As the mother of an autistic child who until recently screamed through every shopping trip, I know its hard to deal with, but at that point you go in get what you need and get out. You learn to over look the comments and the looks. We don't know why she was crying so lets not judge the mother for not leaving the store. If the man didn't like it he should have went to a different part of the store.

Amanda - posted on 09/03/2009

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Quoting Carma:

Ok....Louise Pickstock.......I totally agree with you, I mean what are you teaching your child if every time they throw a tantrum, you take them away from where they are.....NOTHING. And for the ones that doesn't like to hear the screaming, then they can leave, and seems like they are the ones that don't have any kids, because if they had kids, they know exactly what the parents are going through, and believe me NO ONE can say their child has never thrown a fit in a store.......thats the dream world and believe me I know I am in the real world.......but anyway gotta get off here I have a temper tantrum going on right now.......WELCOME TO MY WORLD



I couldnt disagree with you more. I have 3 children all have tried to throw a fit in stores, even the 1 year old! I have always removed my children when they throw a fit, why? Because it is not other peoples job to listen to my child misbehave!! I agree with the other mothers, it is a mothers responsiblity to keep their children in line! I have many many times felt the same way as this man did while I am trying to shop and listening and watching other children throw tantrums while their mothers do NOTHING about it. Ignoring a tantrum is not parenting, I dont care how a mother gets their child to stop misbehaving all I care about is that you and your child respect that others are around you and they have the right to do what they need to get done without listening to some child not behaving.



Btw my 1 year old understands the line "No more", and will stop her fit in the middle of a store, so for all the mothers that believe a 2 year old can not understand or have self control give your child more CREDIT, they are much smarter than you think and by the age of 2 your child should know how to behave in public.



 



With that being said I would KICK SOME BUTT if someone did that to my child, but no strange man would ever get that close to my children without momma bear baring her teeth, and ready to attack.

Maggie - posted on 09/03/2009

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the woman should have gotten away from him when he said he would shut the kid up. I don't tend to keep my kids around people who THREATEN THEM. Also, where was she when he grabbed the kid? I know if some strange guy came at my kid I'd get between them and sure wouldn't let him get his hands on her. She could have been more proactive in preventing the situation in the first place. Clearly the guy had issues...if she had left or taken a few minutes to calm the child the whole situation could have been avoided.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

232 Comments

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Lisa - posted on 09/15/2009

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I agree she should've taken the kid out of the store to found out why the child was having a meltdown, but when the guy approached her and pretty much threatened her child, she should've notified security or an employee about it immediately. I also agree that man would be dead or badly injured if he ever layed a hand on my son. That's a promise :)

S. - posted on 09/15/2009

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Quoting Louise:

Brandi, Cherity and Maggie, Surely you would agree that we the parents reserve the right to parent our children however we see fit (provided we don't abuse them) that mother could have had many reasons for not leaving the store, maybe she was trying to teach the child that they can't get there own way by screaming and crying, maybe the child was hungry and the mom needed to buy some formula so she could fed him/her...

If parents left a store everytime their child had a temper tantrum or crying fit they would never be able to finish a shoping trip or teach their children the approperate way to behave in public.

Whatever was happening that man had absoulty no right to hit that child and I don't believe that mothers should have to leave a store because their child is crying, how rediculas.


i could'nt have said it better myself,i would'nt leave a shop on a screaming childs demand if i did that my family would'nt eat lol.



  i also would'nt have given this man chance to get with in a inch of my child.

Amanda - posted on 09/15/2009

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If that was my child and someone I didn't know said that to me first off I would tell them to mind their own business. Then if they would've came back and I saw them raising his/her hand at my child that person would be laying on the ground cause I would've laid them out. No one lays a hand on my child or for the matter hits a child cause they won't stop crying. They would've had to have someone restrain me so I wouldn't have beat them to a pulp.

Cami - posted on 09/15/2009

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I split on this one. If the mother fought back or said something back to his comment he could have gone out to the parking lot and done something way worse. It depends on the woman. If that happened to me, i would have done my war cry and pushed him away, and then started to slap him. But thats just me. And i would ahve stopped my shopping and took my child home and came back at a better time. but some people dont have the luxury of doing that.

Michelle - posted on 09/15/2009

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It's interesting here how there are people throwing the mother under the bus...HELLO, a man walked up and began assaulting her child. You have no idea what her situation was. She may not have been in a position to leave, she may have needed things and didn't have time to come back. Why are we judging and ridiculing the mother...aren't we in this together...all of you who have kids that "know better" must have never had a stressful and awful shopping experience with your children. Come on! How does this become the mother's fault? The kid was 2 and the assaulter was 60...Give me a break!

Tamika - posted on 09/13/2009

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If that was me, he would have known not to come anywhere near my child, cuz when he opened his mouth to tell me to shut my child up he would have swallowed his teeth. If by any chance he was able to slap my child, he would have left wal mart in a body bag.

Joanie - posted on 09/13/2009

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Have you never been in the store with a crying child? People love to give advice, ill and well-meaning. Anyone who has children, has, at some time, been the person with the screaming kid just trying to get through thier shopping list! You can't just say "oh honey, let us leave the lovely Wal-mart so that we don't disturb others." Who are you Mary Poppins? Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way! I wish we could all live such carefree lives. Lemme guess, you have a nanny too!!!!!

Joanie - posted on 09/13/2009

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Quoting Maggie:

I think it was totally out of line for the guy to hit the kid. If he was bothered by her crying then he should have left that aisle or left the store. It's not his place to discipline a child that isn't in his care. However, I think FELONY cruelty is a little harsh.


Are you kidding? If this guy feels it is ok to slap a 2 year old (that he doesn't know), in the face 4 or 5 times, you must ask yourself, what has that guy done in the past or will do in the future in the comfort of his own home? Give me a break!

Stacey - posted on 09/12/2009

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Why didn't the mother take care of her child's needs and avoid the situation to begin with???

Ashley - posted on 09/12/2009

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there is not a chance i would let some stranger touch my child let alone slap her. i probably wouldve flipped a lid and would end up in hand cuffs in another police car. i cant even imagine what the mother was thinking or feeling when he did it. idc if its a slap or a spank u dont need to hit children EVER!!!!!!!

Denise L. - posted on 09/12/2009

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The actions this man at the Walmart Store in Georgia decided to take is “Assault and Battery” against a minor. The person should clearly be criminally prosecuted for his actions and he should be banned from having any contact with any person under the age of 18 years. If he felt there was an intentional act of negligence or abuse in play, he should have called to proper authorities to handle the matter. One call and police would attend the scene to investigate and they would call Child protection, if that were deemed necessary. BUT THAT WAS NOT THE CASE. He is a menace to society and his behaviour should not be tolerated! It is as plain as that...the law states he committed the crime; now he must face the music and do the time. We, as care givers for the littlies, just need to be mindful of when the children are tired or hungry and should postpone our visits to the market when the experience can be pleasant for both the mum and the child (bub). Happy mums; happy children...to one and all!

Laura - posted on 09/12/2009

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Quoting Cherity:

Ok so I'm going to have to play devils advocate here since nobody has touched on this subject: Why didn't the mom leave the store if her child did not stop crying. They said that it was several aisles later that he grabbed the child. His actions were completely un-called for, but why keep a child in the store who has been screaming for quite some time. I would take my daughter out of the store and take care of whatever is causing her to scream and then finish my shopping later!



True true...but some children just hate shopping and if you never take them there (even against their will) you never get anything done and they never learn to be good at the store.  Felony is not too strong.  I'm sure if anyone had just gone up the the man & slapped him because he was too noisy, THEY would have been charged with a felony.  You can't just go around slapping people...big or small...and get away with it!

Lori - posted on 09/12/2009

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Thats outrageous! how do you let the kid get grabbed and get slapped more then once?? Where is the mother? And its clear that even if the man was there slapping the toddler, couldn't she have stopped it or pulled his away from her in anger, cuz i would have and beaten th shit from him. Never lay a hand on my kid, cuz your asking for it. Thats just wrong. My husband would have killed that man!

Brandi - posted on 09/11/2009

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For those who asked why the mom did not take the child out of the store, that may not have been an option. Until recently I was a single mom and there were times my son would start crying someplace but I had no chose but to finish grabbing the essentials! I worked, went to school, and did the errand stuff so as much as I am sure it bothered some people it was the best I could do. The little girl he slapped was only 2, maybe the mom HAD tried to calm her down and nothing was working, every child I am sure has had the moments. Yes, it's great if you can just leave and go back later but not everyone is able to do that. I was in Target one time when my son started crying his heart out (he was about 2 months old). I calmed him as much as I could and quickly grabbed the remaining items (I mean speed shopping to the extreme!) and left but I was there for the essentials like diapers, wet wipes, etc. I wasn't out completely of any of it but also knew from planning I wouldn't have a chance to go before I did run out! The man should not have slapped someone elses child PERIOD. And I know it's great to think that having a crying child will never happen to you because your child knows better but realistically at some point it will, it could be over something other than just a tantrum or a bad child. I used to be the person that got sooooo annoyed over crying babies and kids, and if it is obvious the kid is just misbehaving then I still get annoyed but having a baby of my own as proven to me as much as you'd like and as much as want to you can't always stop the crying right away.



That said, I too would have been in jail! No one is going to slap my child around me and be able to walk away! When he threatened the girl I most likely would have done something then (not physical but SOMETHING depending on the situation). Maybe the mom did move over a couple aisles thinking she was far enough away but even if she didn't that still gives him NO right to do that.

Tara - posted on 09/11/2009

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that man's lucky it wasnt my kid he did that to..my husband would have murdered him on the spot. that fucker needs to go to jail!!! and i probably would have took a few hits myself while that other person was holding him down

Kristin - posted on 09/11/2009

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I'm sorry but saying that if she would have left the store the situation could have been avoided is bull crap!! It doesn't matter what is going on, NO ONE will ever touch my child or as many other moms have said I would be going to jail right along with him still trying to attack him. Of course he would never have even gotten the first slap out let alone the 4th.

Sherri - posted on 09/11/2009

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Absolutely out of line.. especially for a 61 year old adult who should know better. Even now with children i get agitated when my children or someone else;s child cries or is upset in public, but in no way would i ever raise a hand to my own or even someone elses' He should have walked away and left the store if he couldn't control himself. I would have punched the jerk myself.. same goes for anyone who would ever think to lay a hand on my children!

Lena - posted on 09/11/2009

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OMG! If that were my son he hit, the guy better pray the police get him before I and/or my husband do! No way would I allow somebody hitting my son like that!

Mayeya - posted on 09/11/2009

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the man is crazy, how do you just slap someone's baby. The girl is just a baby and babies who dont talk at times express themselves thru crying or the girl wanted attention from the mum. i really makes sad reading but i am glad he was arrested.

Kim - posted on 09/10/2009

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How is felony creulty a little harsh?? If you slapped your OWN kid in the face 4-5 times in front of a police officer or any normal sane adult, you would be in jail for FELONY CHILD ABUSE. Yes, Felony!! The guy needs to be put away before he really hurts someones kid

Kim - posted on 09/10/2009

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How is felony creulty a little harsh?? If you slapped your OWN kid in the face 4-5 times in front of a police officer or any normal sane adult, you would be in jail for FELONY CHILD ABUSE. Yes, Felony!! The guy needs to be put away before he really hurts someones kid

Tina - posted on 09/10/2009

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OMG, he needed to be charged. What is this world coming to when someone who doesn't know a family just come slap someone else child. He did not know what was going on with the child. He had no right. I wish someone would come and slap my child.

Margaret - posted on 09/10/2009

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OMG! I am a mommy of a little girl and I wont even go into a store if My daughter is crying and if she is I had better have a bottle and a pacifier with me becuase if some random guy ever came up and told me that I would slap the hell out of him for even suggesting it. or kick him in the shin. grrr it makes me mad but If the mother wasnt even trying to get her to calm down then seriously come on. but if you actually treid and nothing worked then you even come near my baby girl you better belive I would be in jail. and that person would have to deal with my whole family including my husband who might have to come all the way back from overseas just to kick the mess out of the person. grrr

Laura - posted on 09/10/2009

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Felony cruelty is never to harsh when it comes to kids! It is our place as adults to protect them from everyone and people need to know they cannot hurt the innocent ones!

Heather - posted on 09/10/2009

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How could he get away with hitting the child the many times....didn't the mom do anything??



I agree with Julia...I would have beat the crap out of that guy...sure, the kid was crying. Do some people even know how hard it is to shop with a fussy, screaming child?



We've learn to tune it out and get our shopping done.

Heather - posted on 09/10/2009

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I don't think the felony punishment is too harsh at all. I can't even imagine how a person could think it's okay to hit someone else's child. Clearly he doesn't have kids of his own and if he does, then god be with them. If he treats someone else's child that way, how did he treat his own????? What a jack a$$

Andrea - posted on 09/10/2009

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I can't believe he's still livin!! I would have flipped out! Did they ever say what the Mother did while he was slapping her child? I can't imagine her just standing there...

LaShae - posted on 09/10/2009

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I would definitely have given that guy a piece of mind and something extra for threatening my child. Who do he think he is.... and if he showed up in another aisle and started coming toward my child, I would have punch him out before his hand even made it down to touch my child. I can't believe the nerve some folks have. If parents left stores every time their child wined a little the economy would be in even worse shape then it is. Children aren't going to be little angels all of the time, but is definitely not for a complete stranger to discipline my child. I don't think it would have been two assult charges because me kicking his behind would have been protecting my child, (even if he is bigger then me I am sure being in a supermarket there would have been something for me grab and knock him out with). Hopefully neither the child nor the parent is too traumatized by the event. The thought alone of someone hitting my child makes me sick.

Lori - posted on 09/10/2009

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yha its kinda of funny that it happend, but i know if it was my child they they would probbally have to hold me down because i would totally flip out on one but on one should ever touch your child

Sonja - posted on 09/09/2009

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i would have been going to jail to for beating the heck out of the elderly!! hit my child and see what happens you wont get away with it

Essie - posted on 09/09/2009

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I would have remodeled walmart with his ASS!! He got the right mom cause I too would have been in jail for murdering his ASS!! Felony was the right charge.

Cyndi - posted on 09/09/2009

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Quoting Isabelle:

Serioulsy if your child is behaving like that in public - you should remove them IMMEDIATELY. Its rude to continue to walk around the store and subject other shoppers to your childs bad behaviour/temper tantrum. I've had to leave my entire cart when my daughter threw a fit in a store, but to teach her, I had to show her that there would be a consequence for such bad behaviour. I am NOT condoning the stranger slapping her - her mother should have done that, long before anyone had to intervene. He should have slapped the mother and not the child.....



You would really slap your child?  If you do then your just as bad as that man.  Hitting children is not acceptable.  It's abuse, I don't care if it's your child or not.  Kids have temper tantrums, it's called a normal part of life.  Anyone doesn't like it, they should move to a remote island and be alone for the rest of their lives.  Maybe your rich and don't have to worry about money for gas and such, but for the rest of us poor normal folk we do what we have to get done quickly and then leave. 

Cyndi - posted on 09/09/2009

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The only thing i can say is if that was me,i would have went to prison and he would be in the ground!

LISA - posted on 09/09/2009

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I'm sorry, anyone touches my kids that would be the last thing they do!!! I would be the one being hauled off to jail for causing bodily harm to someone!!

LISA - posted on 09/09/2009

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Quoting Erinn:

Stranger hits crying toddler at Georgia Wal-mart!!!

OMG that is totally uncalled for!!!! What is your opinion??
By Frank James

We've all heard of people like babysitters abusing small children when the kids' parents are away. But how many of us have heard of a stranger abusing a child before the parent's very eyes?


Roger Stephens, alleged Wal-Mart child slapper. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department)

That apparently is what happened in a Wal-Mart in an Atlanta suburb. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A Gwinnett County man is in custody accused of slapping a stranger's crying toddler in a Stone Mountain Wal-Mart on Monday.
Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said "if you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you," according to a police report.
A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.
Stephens then told Mathews, "See, I told you I would shut her up," according to the report.
A bystander held Stephens until store security came to assist, according to a WSB-TV report.
When police arrived, Stephens said that he slapped the child and that he apologized to Mathews, according to the report.
Stephens was charged with felony cruelty to children...


OMG that is totally uncalled for!!!! What is your opinion??
By Frank James

We've all heard of people like babysitters abusing small children when the kids' parents are away. But how many of us have heard of a stranger abusing a child before the parent's very eyes?


Roger Stephens, alleged Wal-Mart child slapper. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department)

That apparently is what happened in a Wal-Mart in an Atlanta suburb. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A Gwinnett County man is in custody accused of slapping a stranger's crying toddler in a Stone Mountain Wal-Mart on Monday.
Sonya Mathews, the mother of the 2-year-old child, told police that both were walking in the aisles of the Rockbridge Road store when Roger Stephens, 61, approached and said "if you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you," according to a police report.
A few moments later, in another aisle, Stephens grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her across the face four or five times, according to the report.
Stephens then told Mathews, "See, I told you I would shut her up," according to the report.
A bystander held Stephens until store security came to assist, according to a WSB-TV report.
When police arrived, Stephens said that he slapped the child and that he apologized to Mathews, according to the report.
Stephens was charged with felony cruelty to children...


 

Lisa - posted on 09/09/2009

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Oh my gosh. That is awful.I have steam coming out of my ears if someone just gives my little boy a go to heck look much less touching my child! I don't know what I would have done. I probly would have lost it. I hope that man gets a lot of jail time.

Lisa - posted on 09/09/2009

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Oh my gosh. That is awful.I have steam coming out of my ears if someone just gives my little boy a go to heck look much less touching my child! I don't know what I would have done. I probly would have lost it. I hope that man gets a lot of jail time.

June - posted on 09/09/2009

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I am a Mother Bear and my child is my cube, I will kill over my child ,,, touch my child and see what happens,, I will come unglued on someone in a heart beat......... I think if the man was that brothered by the child's actions then he could have said something to the child's parent or just left the area,,, you just dont touch another Mama Bears child..........

June - posted on 09/09/2009

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I am a Mother Bear and my child is my cube, I will kill over my child ,,, touch my child and see what happens,, I will come unglued on someone in a heart beat......... I think if the man was that brothered by the child's actions then he could have said something to the child's parent or just left the area,,, you just dont touch another Mama Bears child..........

June - posted on 09/09/2009

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I am a Mother Bear and my child is my cube, I will kill over my child ,,, touch my child and see what happens,, I will come unglued on someone in a heart beat......... I think if the man was that brothered by the child's actions then he could have said something to the child's parent or just left the area,,, you just dont touch another Mama Bears child..........

Karen - posted on 09/09/2009

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Yeah someone would have had to hold him for me, due to the fact I would have taken the law into my own hands. What on earth was he thinking.

Cynthia - posted on 09/09/2009

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what the Hell was he thinking! Outrages....no way!

Agree with you Julia, no one has any right to harm my child!!!!!

Isabelle - posted on 09/09/2009

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Serioulsy if your child is behaving like that in public - you should remove them IMMEDIATELY. Its rude to continue to walk around the store and subject other shoppers to your childs bad behaviour/temper tantrum. I've had to leave my entire cart when my daughter threw a fit in a store, but to teach her, I had to show her that there would be a consequence for such bad behaviour. I am NOT condoning the stranger slapping her - her mother should have done that, long before anyone had to intervene. He should have slapped the mother and not the child.....

Florenda - posted on 09/09/2009

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I agree that nobody wants to listen to a crying child in a store while trying to do their shopping. My child would have known better than to act like that but I would not keep shopping with a child that is having a fit. I would have left. However that man is getting what he deserves. Someone said earlier that a felony was too harsh...I'm sorry but someone who smacks any child like that especially someone else's deserves that and then some. I would have had a serious problem with the man just for threatening to do something, but never would he have gotten to my child before I got to him. So yes there is some blame on the mother for this issue.

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