A Carson City man who spanked his girlfriend's daughters with a spatula received probation on Tuesday.
District Judge Bill Maddox suspended 120 days in jail and sentenced Cameron Jackson, 36, to up to one-year probation on a charge of gross misdemeanor child neglect.
Defense attorney Karin Kreizenbeck told the judge Jackson grabbed the spatula to swat the girls when the 3-year-old and 4-year-old sisters got too close to an open window.
"He overreacted, but he was doing it to protect them," she said.
"I never tried to hurt the kids," Jackson said. "Where I come from spanking is not against the law."
In addition to probation, Jackson must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, complete anger management and parenting classes and he cannot be left alone to supervise the children.
"A lot of us justify using corporal punishment because it was visited on us when we were children," Maddox said, "but that doesn't mean it's right."
Jackson was arrested in March on a warrant.
According to court documents, in October the girls' grandmother noted bruises on them.
A 7-year-old sister told police that she saw Jackson use a spatula to spank her 3-year-old and 4-year-old sisters for not cleaning their room. The 7-year-old said she escaped the spankings because she was doing homework.
The girls' mother denied any abuse. Jackson and she are still in a relationship, Kreizenbeck told the judge.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.