A California lawmaker was arrested on a child abuse charge Monday, and his kids were taken away by Child Protective Services after his 7-year-old daughter told authorities her father had injured her.
Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D) says he spanked his daughter Sunday night because the child was "acting out."
What are the details?
Officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School in Central Fresno called Child Protective Services Monday afternoon to report that one of their students had an injury. CPS subsequently called law enforcement, and after assessing the child and taking her statement, officers from the Fresno Police Department determined that her father, Joaquin Arambula, had caused the injury.
According to KFSN-TV, Arambula refused to give a statement to police on the advice of his attorney. The lawmaker was arrested for willful cruelty to a child, and all three of his children were taken by Child Protective Services. The 3-, 6-, and 7-year-old girls have since been returned to the custody of Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth.
The couple sat down for a tearful interview with the Fresno Bee on Wednesday, explaining that while Arambula did spank his 7-year-old for misbehaving on Sunday night, he did not notice any injuries on the child. Arambula and his wife stressed that he would never harm their children and that the swatting was just normal discipline.
"It wasn't the best night for all of us, and as a parent, I think most of us have felt those times when we can feel a bit overwhelmed," the assemblyman told the Bee. "My daughter — in the midst of (her) acting out, I disciplined her as a consequence to something she did."
Arambula said corporal punishment was a rare occurrence in his home, but used as a last resort maybe once a year.
"It was us disciplining — normal discipline to our child," Arambula reiterated. He also went on to praise his daughter's teacher, Child Protective Services, and the Fresno Police for doing their jobs.
Following news of Arambula's arrest, the Fresno County Republican Party called for the Democrat to be fired from his job.
"California State Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon, should ask for Joaquin Arambula's resignation due to the egregious nature of these charges," Chairman Fred Vanderhoof said in a statement, reported by KSEE-TV.
"The Democrat Party needs to show their concern for the constituents of Assembly District 31 as well as for the people of Fresno County by taking immediate action," he added.