A judge sentenced an Alaska mother of six to three years probation for child abuse for forcing her adopted son to drink hot sauce and take cold showers on a taped segment of the "Dr. Phil" show.
Calling the woman's actions "an extremely serious offense" and a "premeditated and gratuitous act," District Judge David Wallace today sentenced Jessica Beagley to 180 days in jail and a $2,500 fine, then suspended both sentences and told her she need the time and money to help rebuild and heal her family.
Beagley could have been sentenced to as much as one year in prison. She must continue to receive counseling until professionals decide it is no longer needed.
Last week Beagley, 36, was found guilty of one count of misdemeanor child abuse by a jury of three men and three women.
At the sentencing, Beagley addressed the court, saying she felt that it was her most important job as a mother to care for and teach her children.
"I have three little boys all with special needs. I have one little boy who is much more special ... who came to me with special needs that I didn't know how to handle," she said.
Her husband, Gary, who is an Anchorage police officer, also addressed the court.
"We both love our children, our adopted and our biological. It makes no difference ... we have 11 different therapy appointments every week. We are just trying to be the best parents we can," he said.
According to court documents, police began to investigate Beagley after she appeared with "Dr. Phil" McGraw in November 2010 of last year on a segment called "Mommy Confessions."
Beagley told McGraw about her difficulty disciplining her 7-year-old son, Kristoff. Video shot by her 10-year-old daughter showed Beagley at home in Alaska disciplining the boy.
Beagley and her husband adopted twin boys from Russia when they were 5 years old, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The boy seen drinking the hot sauce is one of the adopted children.
"We've tried a lot of different things to punish the kids," she said on the show.
On camera, Beagley is seen pouring hot sauce down the boy's throat as punishment for lying. Beagley, leaning over the boy as he sits on the bathroom counter, says, "don't spit it."
The boy can be heard screaming when Beagley forces him to take a cold shower.
"When [he] gets a cold shower, I am at the end of my rope," Beagley said on the show. "Nothing's gotten the results that I want."
She told McGraw her son is "the biggest stress in my life."
Prosecutors had argued that Beagley performed the abuse to get a spot on the show. Her defense team argued that she came on the show in a desperate move to find ways to help her son.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.