Smithfield, NC - In 2008, adoptive mother Lynn Paddock was convicted of torture and murder, in death of her four-year-old son adopted son Sean. Six surviving children testified at trial that they had been beaten almost daily with flexible plastic rods, wooden spoons and other devices. A forensic pediatrician described the abuse as “ritualistic torture”, while Assistant Johnston County District Attorney Paul Jackson showed jurors the “whipping stick” Paddock used on the children, as well as photos of bruises on their bodies.
“This was soul murder,” Jackson said.
Testifying at trial, Lynn Paddock said she and her husband decided to use discipline techniques they learned from the evangelical Rev. Michael Pearl, who publishes books and articles on how to raise obedient children.
“We liked Michael Pearl’s (system) because it was quick (and) it didn’t demean the child and bring their self-esteem down,” she said. As of 2014, the death of Sean Paddock is one of three confirmed deaths circumstantially linked to Pearl’s parenting guide, To Train Up A Child. An online petition to remove the book from Amazon.com now has tens of thousands of signatures.
Read Lynn Paddock’s Statement to Investigators (Courtesy of WRAL)