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Man gets probation for spanking child

A Stewartville man has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to malicious punishment of a child, a gross misdemeanor.

Jack Hunter Zoeller, 34, entered the plea and was sentenced Monday in Olmsted County District Court. In addition to the probation, Judge Christina Stevens ordered him to complete programming and counseling, as well as transfer any firearms to a third party.

The charge stems from an incident in September 2013, when a 7-year-old child told the nurse at her elementary school that Zoeller had spanked her three or four times on her bare buttocks when she was at his house the day before.

According to the criminal complaint, the child was hiding a book in her pants, in an attempt to take it to her mother's house. Zoeller was angry with her for the incident, the report says, pulled her pants down and spanked her with his hand.

The girl's mother told an investigator the child's bottom was bruised the next day.


Zoeller allegedly admitted he'd spanked the child, but that his intention was to discipline her for lying and not to hurt her.

The case wasn't charged until May, according to court documents.

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