Adrian Peterson will NOT be jailed for child abuse

 Adrian Peterson will NOT be jailed for child abuse

Smiling Adrian Peterson could play next WEEK – after striking plea deal that means he will NOT be jailed for child abuse. Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson avoided jail time on Tuesday in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors to resolve his child abuse case.

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The 29-year-old running back pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault, a deal that allows him to avoid a felony child-abuse conviction. Peterson has agreed to pay a $4,000 fine, serve 80 hours of community service, take parenting classes and will spend the next two years on probation. Adrian_Peterson_3

‘I want to say I truly regret this incident. I stand here and I take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than any one of you can even imagine,’ said Peterson outside the court in Conroe, Texas.  While the case was pending, he was not allowed to have contact with his son. Peterson and his attorney said he is looking forward to getting back to having a relationship with the boy.

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‘Adrian wants to get on with his life, have a relationship with his son and get back to playing football,’ Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said. Now that the legal case is over, the NFL has a big decision to make whether to reinstate Peterson or whether to suspend him without pay.

Peterson – the 12th highest paid player in the league – has been on paid leave from the Vikings under a special exemption from the NFL commissioner to take care of his legal problems. It was not immediately clear how the plea deal would affect his playing status.Adrian_Peterson_1

‘We will review the matter, including the court record, and then make a determination on his status,’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. ‘We cannot provide a timetable.’ Peterson has already missed eight games, so unless the NFL suspends him for more than eight games, he could be reinstated for the Viking’s next game against the Bears on November 16.

Peterson was indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier this year in suburban Houston. The All-Pro running back says he never intended to harm his son and was disciplining him in the same way he had been as a child growing up in East Texas.

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The boy suffered cuts, marks and bruising to his thighs, back and on one of his testicles, according to court records. The case revived a debate about corporal punishment, which is on the decline in the U.S. but still widely practiced in homes and schools. If convicted of felony child abuse, he could have faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.Adrian_Peterson_

A tentative trial date of Dec. 1 had been set in Peterson’s case. Last month, a visiting judge denied a request by prosecutors to remove Case as judge in the case.  Prosecutors had accused Case of being biased against them and wanted a new judge appointed. The plea deal made moot a pending motion by prosecutors to revoke Peterson’s $15,000 bond for alleged marijuana use. Corporal punishment is legal in every state. The Texas Attorney General’s Office notes that belts and brushes ‘are accepted by many as legitimate disciplinary “tools,'” but ‘electrical or phone cords, boards, yardsticks, ropes, shoes, and wires are likely to be considered instruments of abuse.’

Texas law says the use of non-deadly force against someone younger than 18 is justified if a parent or guardian ‘reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare.’

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