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Couple Who “Pranked” Their Kids for Laughs Lose Custody of Them and are Sentenced to 5 Years Probation

Comedians perform acts all for the laughs and recognition. And these parents had the same goal in mind, the only issue is that they used their own kids as props for their acts.

Maryland couple Michael and Heather Martin, known for YouTube “prank” channel DaddyOFive have been sentenced to five years of probation on Monday.

The couple has been charged with two accounts of child neglect each, after outrage sparked and allegations of child abuse ensued after their “kids prank” video.

The ‘pranks’ consisted of the couple screaming at their kids until they cried, screaming obscenities at them, and even shoving one of their kids which resulted in the child having a bloody nose.

In an arranged plea agreement between the couple’s defense attorney and the Frederick County State’s Attorney, the Martin’s have entered a Alford pleas. The Alford pleas is a unique guilty plea in which the defendant doesn’t necessarily admit to their actions being legally wrong, but agree that the state has enough evidence to prove them to be guilty.

After several complaints by citizens about the ‘prank’ videos, The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Child Protective Services began investigating.

After a psychological evaluation of the Martin’s and their children was underwent, it was discovered that two of the children, 10-year-old Cody and 11-year-old Emma, had suffered “mental injury”, resulting from the ‘prank’ videos, according to Lindy Angel, the Frederick County Assistant State’s Attorney.

In May the couple lost custody of Michael’s biological children Cody and Emma. According to the terms of their probation, the Martin’s aren’t allowed to have any contact with the two children unless given permission by the judge handling the case. They are also not allowed to posy any videos which contain Cody and Emma in them, on social media.

Popular YouTube commentator Philip DeFranco, who was one the first to suggest that the DaddyOFive’s videos constituted as child abuse. According to DeFranco, 10 year-old Cody who is the youngest in the family, was subjected to these pranks more than any of the other children, and also appeared t be the most resistant of them.

In a now deleted video, Cody is seen crying as Heather falsely accuses him of pouring ink on his bedroom carpet. She calls him a liar, and screams obscenities at him as he continues to cry hysterically.

In another video Cody is seen crying once again with a bloody nose, after Michael pushes him into a bookcase.

Apparently the three other children, Heather’s biological children, were discovered to not have endured these pranks after undergoing a psychological evaluation.

Angel deems the decision to take away custody of the children as being in “the best interest of the children.”

She goes on to tell how in the parents psychological evaluation it was indicated that they had  “an extreme lapse in judgement,” but that there was “no intention to injure the children.”.

“It was insensitive, cruel, bad decision-making,” Angel states. “But there was no real intention behind it.”

Okay, so then why did they do it?

angel continues on to say that the Martin’s have so far complied with authorities by taking counseling and refraining from making and posting anymore videos.

Angel says that “The Martins are taking this very seriously,”, and the prosecution doesn’t wish for the children to have to go through a trial. She believes that the probation “serves everyone’s interest.”

In an interview with Buzzfeed the Martin’s lawyer, Stephen Tully, says that him an his clients were “fully satisfied” with the outcome, and negotiation agreement.

He goes on to discuss his clients outlook on the situation, saying the Martin’s were “concerned about what took place and what effect it had on the children that they did not foresee.”

And according to Tully, we  might still see more of the Martin’s on social media as they might continue to post videos of themselves and there other three children.  “Just not in the same fashion as before,” Tully says.

[via Buzzfeed]

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