North Dakota Supreme Court overturns child abuse conviction | #childabuse | #children | #kids

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court has ruled that a Minot man should not have been convicted of child abuse for allegedly assaulting a woman in front of a young girl.

Brent Castleman, 54, was found guilty last year of a Class B felony after the jury watched a recording of the assault and the girl crying after witnessing the attack. Castleman was sentenced in January 2021 to five years in prison.

The Supreme Court said in an opinion released last week that the incident does not qualify as child abuse under state law because prosecutors did not prove that there was any lasting effect to the girl’s psychological, emotional, or mental health.

Castleman will be released from the James River Correctional Facility in Jamestown, the Minot Daily News reported.

Justices Lisa Fair McEvers and Gerald VandeWalle noted in a concurring opinion that if the legislature wants to protect children from domestic violence, perhaps it should include exposure of the child to domestic violence as part of the definition of child abuse.

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