Posted October 13, 2004 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Charges Dropped Against Men who Forced Son to Drink Hot Sauce

Charges Dropped Against Men who Forced Son to Drink Hot Sauce

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors in Sarasota have decided to drop felony child-neglect charges against a man who forced his 13-year-old stepson to drink hot sauce as punishment for leaving a
gate open.

An attorney for Michael Massanelli says prosecutors have acknowledged that making the teenager drink hot sauce was NO different than washing a child’s mouth out with soap. In the words of lawyer Derek Byrd, “if giving hot sauce were criminal, then a lot of our grandmothers would have gone to jail.”

Sheriff’s detectives charged Massanelli in June and booked him into jail on child abuse charges. An arrest report says he told detectives he was upset because his two-year-old daughter could
have wandered out of the left open by his stepson.

After forcing him to drink the hot sauce, the Boy told detectives his stepfather wouldn’t allow him to rinse his mouth, which “felt as if it were on fire.” Detectives say they charged
Massanelli with child abuse because he intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the boy.

Later, the prosecutors amended the charge to felony child neglect. But Byrd says once they examined the record, they realized
there was NO malice or criminal intent.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog