Neglect charges dropped over hot sauce highball
Florida man subjected stepson to fiery punishment
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:39 a.m. ET Oct. 13, 2004
SARASOTA, Fla – Prosecutors have decided to drop felony child-neglect charges against a Florida man who forced his 13-year-old stepson to drink hot sauce as punishment for leaving a gate open.
When Michael Massanelli was arrested in June, he told detectives he was upset because his 2-year-old daughter could have wandered out of the gate left open by his stepson.
According to an attorney for Massanelli, prosecutors have acknowledged that making the teen-ager drink hot sauce was no different than washing a child’s mouth out with soap.
In the lawyer’s words, “if giving hot sauce were criminal, then a lot of our grandmothers would have gone to jail.”
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