Local News

Author Says Johnston Mother 'Disobedient' In Child's Death

Posted May 15, 2006

— Lynn Paddock is charged with killing her 4-year-old adopted son and abusing several children in her home. Her attorney, Michael Reece, called the boy's death a tragic accident. He also said the Johnston County mother practiced discipline she learned from the book "To Train up a Child."

"She turned for help to those books in dealing with her children," said Reece. "Did she believe in theories in those books? I think to some extent she did."

WRAL spoke with the author and pastor Michael Pearl by phone on Friday. He said Paddock did not practice what he preaches.

Investigators said Paddock wrapped the boy so tightly in a blanket that he suffocated.

"The idea of wrapping one in a blanket, that is disobedient," said Pearl. "We've never mentioned or got anywhere close to that in anything we've written."

Pearl's books teach parents strategies for rearing submissive, obedient children. It promotes spanking children with a branch, belt or thin flexible pipe.

"It causes the child to respect and honor authority and to know there are consequences for your deeds," said Pearl.

He warns parents not to spank in anger or cause serious injury. Paddock is also accused of hitting her children with a PVC pipe.

"I certainly don't think that Pearl would advocate or condone some of the types of discipline which we believe the evidence will show the defendant used," said Tom Lock.

When asked if he would testify if called during Paddock's trial, Pearl said, "I'd love to. I don't think it would be good for the defense by any means."

Reece believes Pearl is trying to distance himself from his teachings because of the controversy now surrounding his book. He plans to use Pearl's book as part of the defense, but has not decided if he will call Pearl to testify.

The district attorney said this week he would not seek the death penalty in this case.


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