Punishment Or Abuse?

March 9, 2007
Reported by Vince Atkinson 

Any parent will tell you, raising children is not always the easiest job.   Many times children misbehave and have to be disciplined, but sometimes that punishment goes too far and even turns into abuse.   Local authorities are investigating a case that may illustrate this scenario all too well.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Detective Patty Bailey has a tough job.   She investigates crimes that center on cruelty to juveniles.   According to authorities, just such a case recently took place on 5th Avenue in Lake Charles.   Bailey said, "The children had extensive marks all the way from the bottom of their calves up to the mid-level of their back, as well as on their arms."

Detectives believe the children's stepfather, 33 year old Mark Trahan and mother 28 year old Brandy Trahan are responsible.   The Trahan's were arrested and are being charged with two counts each of cruelty to a juvenile.   The parents say this was only punishment for bad behavior.

Authorities believe there is a huge difference between whipping a child and a beating.   Bailey said, "Discipline is fine.   Their is a difference between discipline and excessive abuse.    Every parent is going to discipline their children by one means or another.    This definitely went across that line." The two children in question have been removed from the home by state authorities.   7 News did attempted to reach the Trahans for comment, but so far we have not been able to contact the couple.   Both Mark and Brandy Trahan bonded out of jail the same day they were taken into custody.   Their bonds were set at $5,000 each.