• 34°

Father sentenced to probation for slapping son

A Rochester man who slapped his 3-year-old son while drunk at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center last summer was sentenced to probation Thursday.

Franklin David Fail, 53, will be on a two-year probationary period for the misdemeanor-level domestic abuse. District judge Fred Wellmann issued the punishment.

As part of Fail’s plea, which was entered Thursday before his sentencing, a gross misdemeanor charge of malicious punishment of a child was dismissed.

The incident in question occurred Aug. 4. According to a court complaint, two witnesses on a nearby trail saw Fail yelling at the boy and his sister, whose age was not listed. The witnesses also said Fail smelled of alcohol.

They then saw Fail slap the 3-year-old boy, knocking him to the ground, according to the complaint. The boy stayed on the ground, crying and covering his face.

One witness called police, the report states.

When questioned by police, Fail said he didn’t remember slapping the boy. He did say he occasionally spanked his children because of behavioral problems.

Fail was taken to the Austin Medical Center and put on a 72-hour hold.

Fail’s wife arrived to pick up the children. She said her husband had a history of anger problems and had been taking medications, according to the complaint.

The wife, 26, said she was unsure if Fail was still taking his medications. She did say that the VA had requested he change medications but that Fail didn’t want to go in to do so.