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Judicial CP - August 1949

Corpun file 24917 at

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The Toronto Daily Star, 15 August 1949, p.3

Rouge Hill Fathers Follow Orders, Will Paddle Sons, But Feel it Humiliates, Does Not Punish

'Against it,' but both Dads agree to Whip their Sons

By Dick Ryder
Star Staff Correspondent

"I MADE A MISTAKE, and won't get into trouble with the police again," says Ronald Cross, 17, shown with his dog, Mikey. Boy was ordered paddled for stealing beer

Rouge Hill, Aug. 15 -- They're against it but they'll go through with it rather than have another run-in with the law. That's the attitude today of two Rouge Hill area fathers ordered to whip their sons with lengths of laths for stealing beer.

Whether the punishment would be carried out today in the case of the Culetta boy was problematical. The boy's father was due to go to his Canadian Johns-Manville job at 4 p.m., the boy went to work this morning on an ice truck route, and will not be home until after his father has left for work.

Consequently, police charged with the task of watching the whipping were confronted with the difficulty of getting together the boy, the father and the length of lath.

At the Cross home there were no new developments. Punishment was slated to start at 8 p.m. Mrs. Cross said the boy and his father would be at home. The rest was up to police who will be represented by Constable Fred White, since Chief Jack Irvine left on his annual vacation at noon.

The 14-year-old son of Nicholas Culetta, 40, was not at home Sunday afternoon when Chief Jack Irvine and Cons. Fred White, of Pickering township, arrived to see that Nick carried out the edict issued in Oshawa Friday by Magistrate Russell P. Locke of Toronto. He had not been home since Saturday morning, in fact.

MAGISTRATE RUSSELL P. LOCKE of Oshawa ordered Frank Culetta, 14, and Ronald Cross, 17, both of Rouge River, to be paddled by their fathers for stealing beer. Both fathers refused but then changed their minds. "The judge should be lathed, and I'll do it if he comes up here," was the first comment of Ronald's father, Percy Cross

FRANK CULETTA, 14, shows the wooden laths he is supposed to be paddled with by his father. Boy has not been home since Saturday, so father could not spank him

Earlier, police had driven in the township's blue sedan to the home of Percy Cross, 37, a mile or so south of the Culetta farm. There, too, they found themselves stymied but for another reason. The Cross family had Sunday company. The chief and the constable had no wish to humiliate the youth, his parents and two younger sisters before the eyes of visitors. So they postponed duty.

Saturday, Cross and Culetta announced they would not administer the 10 blows to their erring sons, as the court ordered. Sunday, after neighborly talks with Chief Irvine, they were inclined to look at the lathings in a different light. Neither liked the prospect; neither wanted any more trouble with the police and law courts.

In his small new house, transport driver Cross struggled to be an entertaining host for Sunday company. But he was not his usual jovial self. He was wrestling with his problem. And a decision was hard to come by. The thought of lathing his 17-year-old son, Ronald, was galling. So was the thought of more court appearances, with their attendant publicity.

Because he had guests, Cross said, he had until eight o'clock Monday night to decide one way or the other. At that time he said he was told by Chief Irvine the punishment must be carried out.

Could Go to Jail

This morning the police chief said he had not set that deadline. The lathings had not been given, he acknowledged, but they would be. Just when, the chief was not saying.

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Chief Irvine explained refusal by Cross and Culetta to obey the court's ruling would constitute a parole violation. As part of his sentence, Magistrate Locke placed the boys on six months' probation. If their fathers were adamant, the boys would appear in court again, might go to jail, Chief Irvine said. Both Cross and Culetta shied away from this probability.

They were thinking, too, that how hard the boys were lathed was up to their fathers. Each fastened thankfully on the thought, though it did little to dilute the keenly felt humiliation. They reckoned, too, that the sooner it was over, the sooner they could retire from the unwanted glare of publicity. Punishing the boys, as the court ordered, seemed the best way out.

Saw Boy, 14, "Hanging Around"

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"They said the boy had been seen at 1 a.m. with the bunch that hang around the Rosebank corner," Culetta volunteered. "That's no good. That's no time for a 14-year-old boy to be out. But what's a man to do? I got to work and earn a living. I can't be riding herd on him all day and all night.

"I guess I'd better go through with it," he said. "I can only tap the boy. I don't want him to be back in court again. But I don't like the whole business. You'd think he'd committed murder, or something, to deserve the lash. He admitted he stole the beer and of course he should be punished. Seems like the probation period was enough. He never was in trouble before."

Later, a reporter located the boy with a group of youthful friends.

The sandy-haired boy feared mortification more than the sting of a lath.

Corpun file 24916 at

The Toronto Daily Star, 16 August 1949, p.23

Rod Breaks As Boy Gets Court-Ordered 10 Blows

By Dick Ryder
Star Staff Correspondent

Rouge Hill, Aug. 16 -- Ronald Cross, 17, is square with the law today. He settled his account last night, with help from his father, Percy Cross. Where his trousers fit the closest, Ronald felt the sting of a three-quarter inch board. It fell smartly 10 times and the boy's debt was paid.

Ordered by Magistrate R.P. Locke of Toronto, after Ronald was convicted in Oshawa court of stealing beer, the punishment was swift. While Constable Fred White of Pickering kept count, the makeshift paddle smacked the boy in a rapid-fire fusillade.

On the business end of the board, the father tackled the job with vigor if not enthusiasm. Midway in the volley, the board snapped. It was weakened by flaws, Mr. Cross said later.

In less than 10 seconds Ronald's ordeal was over. He bore it with stoicism. But at the count of 10 he straightened and sped from the house, moving with the briskness of a man whose hip pocket is on fire.

At the edge of a field he stopped, his back to the cooling breeze. In his wake trailed a friend, Pat Cousins, 18, and a number of small children.

"Are You Kidding!"

"It didn't hurt much, did it, Ronnie?" Miss Cousins asked sympathetically.

"Are you kidding?" he snapped, an outraged and humiliated male. There was an overtone of pained surprise in his voice, too, suggesting he had been tapped a good deal harder than he had expected. Constable White, acting police chief of Pickering township during Chief Jack Irvine's vacation, said the case was closed and the court order carried out satisfactorily.

He said, too, that the 14-year-old son of Nicholas Culetta must take his medicine. The boy, convicted of beer theft with Ronald Cross, was working yesterday on an ice-truck route. His father is on the four to midnight shift it the Canadian Johns-Manville plant in Port Union and getting the two together was not easy.

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Second Boy to Get It

Constable White planned to settle the matter today, before Culetta leaves for work in mid-afternoon. Now that Ronald Cross had accepted his punishment, it was more imperative than ever that his companion take the 10 strokes, the officer said.

As for Percy Cross, he was relieved the affair was finished. "I didn't like to do it," he said, "but it was better than having the boy in court again."

Ronald's reaction was a mixture of humiliation and indignation. "Everybody's laughing at me," he protested.

Pat Cousins wasn't. And it didn't take her long to coax a smile to his lips.

Corpun file 24918 at

The Toronto Daily Star, 17 August 1949, p.2

Second Youth to Get Lath Strokes Today

Special to The Star

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Rouge Hill, Aug. 17 -- The second youth sentenced last week to 10 strokes with a lath will receive punishment today, Constable Fred White of Pickering police said.

Father of the boy, Nicholas Culetta, said he was ready to administer punishment as soon as he, the boy and the constable could get together. He said Saturday he would not carry out the order if he could help it, but later decided to administer the punishment as ordered by the court.

Last Friday, Magistrate Russell P. Locke convicted two Rouge Hill youths of stealing 22 pints of beer from a hotel. He placed them on suspended sentence and ordered the fathers to give them 10 strokes with a lath.

Constable White said he intended to pick the boy up some time this afternoon and take him to his father for punishment. "I am certainly not letting the boy off after seeing one lad get his punishment Monday," he said.

Ronald Cross, 17, the other youth sentenced to be punished by his father, received his 10 strokes Monday.

Culetta said his son spent most of his time away from home since the court order was given. "It is hard for me to see the boy because I work at night and he works for an ice company during the day," he said.

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