• Man speaks out after child abuse charge over physical discipline

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Monroe man is speaking out about his decision to physically discipline his son after his arrest on a child abuse charge.
    Union County deputies had been investigating Lavar Lotharp since March, when the alleged incident occurred. Lotharp turned himself in on the misdemeanor charge Wednesday.
    Investigators said an anonymous source called Union County DSS last month to report allegations of abuse involving Lotharp's 12-year-old stepson.
    "We take each on a case by case instance, and determine if there was intent to harm the child or if excessive force was used during the discipline," said Detective Megan Gutierrez.
    Wednesday, Lotharp admitted to Channel 9 that he used a belt to spank his stepson but denied using excessive force or causing any injuries.

    According to court documents, the whipping left a cut on the boy's head, but Lotharp told Eyewitness News that the 12-year-old had been having problems at school, and the cut came from somewhere else.
    "(Physical discipline) is on occasion, when it's needed and that time it was needed. But it wasn't excessive. It isn't ain't the way they trying to make it seem," Lotharp said.
    Lotharp said he occasionally used physical discipline to teach all of his children about right from wrong.
    "When they end up getting into the system and all the things go wrong, then they look back as and say you're a bad parent. I take care of my kids and I look out for them, for their best good. So that's why I do what I do, is because I love them," Lotharp said.
    Lotharp will face a judge in Union County court on May 20.

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