Watch CBSN Live

Alaska's "Hot Sauce Mom" Jessica Beagley spared jail time


(CBS/AP) ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Jessica Beagley, an Alaska woman convicted of punishing her adopted Russian son by squirting hot sauce into his mouth, was spared immediate jail time on Monday.

Beagley, 36, was given three years of probation, a 180-day suspended jail sentence and a $2,500 fine - also suspended - after she was convicted last week of misdemeanor child abuse. Prosecutors said she used a videotape of herself punishing the 7-year-old boy as a ploy to get on the "Dr. Phil" TV show.

Beagley submitted the eight-minute tape for a show segment titled "Mommy Confessions." She said the boy had lied about getting into trouble at school.

After squirting hot sauce in the boy's mouth for lying, she also punished him with a cold shower.

Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin rejected the contention that Beagley was trying to get help for her son through the television show. She said Beagley was experienced at setting up counseling sessions. The punishment of the child on tape, she said, was a gratuitous act aimed at getting herself on television.

Franklin recommended a sentence of 360 days and a requirement for Beagley to serve 30 days behind bars as a deterrent to other parents.

During the trial, Franklin told the jury it wasn't Beagley's first attempt. After seeing a segment in April 2009 titled "Angry Moms," she contacted the show but heard nothing for a year and a half, Franklin said.

The show eventually called to find out if Beagley was still angry, she said. Beagley submitted audition videos in which she yelled at the boy, but producers said they needed to see her actually punishing her son, the prosecutor said.

That's when Beagley got the video camera ready, made sure there was enough hot sauce on the shelf in the bathroom, and recruited her 10-year-old daughter to shoot the video, Franklin said.

Days later, Beagley was headed to Los Angeles to tape the show that first aired Nov. 17. The episode sparked public outrage in Russia, with some people demanding the boy and his twin brother be returned to their native country.

Complete Coverage of the "Hot Sauce Mom" on Crimesider