Any person who, under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail ont exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.
Any person who, under circumstances not likely to produce great bodily injury or death abuses a child is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be imprisoned for up to one year.
People v. Deborah M. Defendant, an elementary school principal, and her husband, a sheriff with Los Angeles County, were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy to commit child abuse and misdemeanor child abuse. The allegations included punishing their 13 year old son by making him sleep outside on the dog blanket, pouring cold water on him to wake him in the morning, moving piles of bricks from one side of the yard to the other and back again, not being able to eat meals in the house with other family members, and putting dog feces in his school back pack when he failed to pick up after the dog. After jury trial defendant was found not guiltyof the felony charge and the misdemeanor charge was dismissed.