Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho has imposed a maximum one-year prison term on a 43-year-old man who beat up his daughter with a golf club at their home on Saipan.
“Children are to be protected and cherished,” said Camacho in sentencing Paul Raymond Kaipat on Friday.
Kaipat pleaded guilty to assault and battery and disturbing the peace as part of a plea deal.
Camacho sentenced Kaipat to the full maximum one-year and six-month imprisonment for assault and battery and disturbing the peace, respectively.
Camacho said the sentences shall run concurrently. This means Kaipat will serve only one year in prison for the two offenses. He was given credit for time served.
According to court papers, on June 17, 2013, Kaipat beat up his then 10-year-old daughter with a shaft of a golf club, hitting her once on the right arm, twice on the right hip, and once on the right thigh, bruising her elbow and leg.
Camacho said the law allows a parent to administer corporal punishment to discipline a child. Done correctly, the judge said, the corporal punishment impresses upon the child to correct his or her behavior.
Kaipat, however, repeatedly hit his child with a shaft of a golf course, causing bruising, swelling, and bleeding, Camacho said, adding that he viewed photos of the child’s injuries.
Camacho is taking a view that Kaipat was not administering a lawful form of discipline.
Kaipat, the judge said, is under the mistaken belief that as a parent the law gives him license to commit violent physical abuse on his young children.
Camacho pointed out that the Legislature has repeatedly enacted laws reaffirming the mandate that children are to be protected and cherished.
The Legislature, he said, continues to pass laws that increase punishment for physical and sexual abuse of children.
“This court rises to the call of that mandate to protect the children in the CNMI,” Camacho said.
The judge told the victim that none of what happened is her fault. “No family member should every try to shift the blame to this young child. The blame for this crime is on Kaipat,” Camacho said.
It was a teacher who noticed the girl’s bruises.
Kaipat beat up the girl using the shaft part of a golf club when her mother told the father that she was not listening to her. As a result, the child failed to report to school that day.