A Douglasville, Ga. father is facing child abuse charges after a local police department deemed his punishment for his 16-year-old son too harsh.
Police discovered that Charlie Mayes, a military veteran with no prior criminal record, punished his son by making him walk three miles down busy roads while carrying a 23-pound landscaping stone. Mayes allegedly made his son do this multiple times a day, and sometimes in the middle of the night.
"This was done multiple times over a three-day period, sometimes as early as 3 o'clock in the morning," Police Sgt. Todd Garner told 11 Alive. "In between that time, he was at home having to move rocks and stuff from one side of the back yard to the other and then being taken right back out to the same location and dropped off and made to walk back again.”
Mayes dubbed the punishment “Walking the Green Mile” and said he resorted to it when his son refused to do his school work. The child has reportedly had behavioral problems for several years now.
"I had tried everything else and nothing seemed to work," Mayes said in his court hearing. "I know it may be an adult punishment and he is a 16-year-old boy. It was something we did when I was in the military. The sergeant would have us move rocks. I know how it sounds, but we did that all the time."
Both Mayes and his wife still insist there is nothing wrong with the punishment.
Lt. Steven Morris of the Douglasville Police Department says the distance, route and weather on the days the punishment was administered are all problematic.
"We are talking about a boy who is very small, and I saw the brick, it was at least 25 pounds," Morris said. "We are talking about more than three miles of very busy roads often in the heat of the day. That puts the child in danger in so many ways. Traffic, physical exhaustion and all for basically being a teenager."
Mayes' son is 4-foot-2 and weighs 135 pounds.
Presiding Judge Joel Dodson says he does not know the right way to fix the boy's behavioral problems, he just knows it is not this.
"This is a somewhat unusual case," Dodson said. "I don't know what will work in terms of discipline for the child, but I can assure you that this isn't one of them."
Mayes was charged with first-degree child cruelty and will have to go to family counseling.