A father from Gregory, MI has been sentenced to prison for 1 to 10 years for slapping his adult daughter in the face. William Ellis Watt, the accused, says that he is innocent and that this entire case was founded on the false accusations and lies of “an arrogant, deceitful teen.” The judge, however, doesn’t believe him.
What makes this case different to the average domestic abuse scenario, is the fact that the assault is said to have happened after an attempted exorcism. According to the testimony of Watt’s 18-year-old daughter, she was watching tv in the family home at about 10:30 am when all of the members of her family came at her together chanting “The power of Christ compels you!” in an attempt to exorcise a demon from her.
She says that she tried to get away, but one family member pushed her back over the couch and then threw a reusable water bottle at her. She was finally able to get away, and left the house, but returned later that night. There was another incident at about midnight, when her father found her eating and confronted her, accusing her of eating his food.
The teen says that she argued with him, claiming that the food was her own and cursing at him. At that point he slapped her across the face and grabbed her by the cheeks, all the while lecturing her about the food. She fled the house again and was able to get a ride with a friend, who took her to a nearby gas station and from there she called the police.
Watt was arrested for domestic abuse, a crime which he has committed a number of times in the past, given his record. According to court documents, Watt was arrested in 2002 for attempting to cut a phone line, in 2008 for two counts of felonious assault, and again in 2016 for assault with intent to strangle his daughter.
Based on his history of repeated assault attempts, the Judge chose to believe Watt’s daughter.
Watt’s was sentenced for Domestic Violence Third Offense by Livingston County Judge Miriam Cavanaugh, who called him an “assaultive person” and sentenced him to one to ten years in prison. “You beat up your family,” the Judge said to Watt after handing down the sentence. “When are you going to learn? You can’t put your hands on your adult children. You don’t get to kick around your kids because they’re your kids. You don’t get to grab her neck or slap her in the face.”
Watt, however, was having none of it. “I stand my ground.” he told the judge. “I’m innocent.” However, he went on to ask for mercy, but was granted none. Judge Cavanaugh told him that his history was indicative of his future and she didn’t believe that he would change his behavior. Watt was heard to mutter the word “unbelievable” in response to the Judge’s decision.
Although Michigan law is very clear about the fact that parents do have the right to discipline their children as they see fit, which includes spanking, that right does not extend to adult children. When a child has reached adulthood, hitting them is considered to be assault and will be charged as domestic violence. If you or a loved one have been accused of abusing a child, or assaulting an adult child, contact our skilled trial attorneys immediately at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you.