Former Coach Faces Jail Time For Controversial Bare-Bottom ‘Jesus’ Spankings (Video)

A North Carolina baseball coach plead guilty this week to four misdemeanor counts of assault on a child after administering bare-bottom spankings to his players. He claimed that the beatings were Biblically justified by a controversial Christian child rearing manual he’d read.

Image via Henderson County Sheriff’s Office

The assaults occurred between August 2014 and January 2015. The victims at the time ranged in ages from eight to nine-years-old and were all members of Jonathan Shawn Russell’s baseball team. The young boys were also friends with the man’s son. According to arrest warrants obtained by Citizen-Times, Russell was accused of:

“…pulling down child victim’s pants and his underwear and spanking him on his buttocks multiple times with his hands.”

This was done without the knowledge or consent of the victim’s parents. Oddly, if Russell had obtained permission first, he would have been legally permitted to spank away.

Russell, 33, will spend 60 days in jail and receive 18 months of supervised probation for his crimes. He will also be forbidden to be alone with, or involved in any activity with, children under 18 during this time.

As part of his defense, Russell read from the book, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart,” a parenting manual written by Pastor Tedd Tripp. The book is popular with conservative Christians seeking justification for beating their children. Russell shared the following passage with the court:

“If you fail to spank, you don’t take God seriously and don’t love your child enough.”

Religiously motivated or not, parents were right to be concerned by the manner with which Russell dispensed his brand of Jesus justice. District Attorney, Greg Newman, provided a summary of evidence stating that the boys were punished on a few occasions while at Russell’s residence.

Before spanking the boys, Russell would take them into a back bedroom and lock the door.

One of the victims, who had been spanked on three occasions reported that following each spanking he was instructed:

“What happens at Coach Russell’s house stays at Coach Russell’s house.”

Russell had been a coach in the Henderson County Youth Baseball organization for four years. At least four boys are known to have been assaulted by Russell during three of those years. Russell was asked to resign when the allegations of abuse first surfaced.

The following video features Pastor Tedd Tripp explaining how he feels it is a mistake for parents not to physically discipline their children because God calls for it. Enjoy!