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Illicit CP - July 2003

Corpun file 11627

News 14, Charlotte, N. Carolina, 9 July 2003

Spank gets store owner in trouble

By Dee Dee Sharp
News 14 Carolina

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- A Statesville clock store owner will face criminal charges for spanking a little boy at his store Saturday.

The incident centers on the store owner's pet parrot, which was allegedly teased by the 9-year old child and his 13-year-old brother.

The owner of Clock World, William Soper, said his bird, Sparky, was in his cage out front, minding his own business, when the boys arrived.

Sparky the parrot is at the center of controversy.

"I heard some commotion out in front of the store, heard some swearing that got my attention, so I looked up and I saw a child spitting on the parrot," Soper said. "And another child was swearing."

Soper said he was alarmed when he saw the children trying to encourage his pet bird to repeat the profanities.

The boys denied spitting at the bird and said the bird cursed first. Soper said the bird did not say anything.

"They came back and started again," Soper said. "I grabbed a child by the shirt, and I said 'Stay away if you can't behave.' Then I gently popped him on the behind."

That is when Sheree Bustle, the boys' mother, filed charges against Soper.

"He was charged with criminal summons with assault on a child under the age of 12, and his court date is set for July 14 in the Iredell County court," Statesville Police Chief Steven Hampton said.

Bustle works at a hair salon nearby. Apparently, the boys had gone to work with her and had walked up the street and around the corner to the clock store. Bustle was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but folks like Marcia Fruehan are outraged.

The incident happened at Clock World in Statesville.

"To take a man to court over something like this, it was apparently very serious to the mother," Fruehan said. "But maybe the kids did need to be spanked; I don't know how serious it was."

Hampton said: "I can understand the frustration of the owner. However, it was not only inappropriate -- it was also against the law."

Soper said he regrets acting on impulse and would not do it again. But for now, he will have to tell it to the judge Monday, when he answers to the misdemeanor. He said he is not sure whether he will continue his store tradition of having one of his eight pet birds caged outside.

Copyright 2003 TWEAN d.b.a. News 14 Carolina

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