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Stranger Spanking?

Was Man Disciplining Misbehaving Child? Cardboard Prophets' Mike Karl Weighs In

Updated at 12:36pm 5/28/18 - Posted by Strickland's Love Lansing at 6:25pm 5/14/18

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Publisher's Note: After consideration, the following story has returned to our website in an amended form.  Despite the story's offering of complete anonymity since the day it was first published, some connected to the story expressed concern about how the story was presented.  We have talked to multiple parties connected to the incident described in this story in an effort to provide a full and complete picture, and have decided that it is acceptable and should return to this site in the form it is now presented.  Further, that persons on either side of the story expressed concern about elements of its presentation, demonstrates that the story paints an unbiased picture.

A Lansing mom, Grandma and others in attendance at a family event organized by Cardboard Prophets that took place at Lansing's Reutter Park on Sunday were stunned and angered when a five year old girl's butt was spanked by a man unknown to the girl, the girl's mother and grandmother.

Accusations of impropriety quickly spread in the fire that is social media, but some are stepping in to say the story that is out there is not the full, real story.

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The girl's mother told Strickland's Love Lansing that the man walked up to her daughter, who was playing with another girl in attendance at the Mother's Day Picnic in the Park, and spanked her butt.  Asking for names to be withheld from the story, she said that she, her daughter and her mother had been waiting in line for food.  She said there was nothing that she witnessed or was made aware of that prompted the stranger spanking.

When asked about the situation, others agreed that the way the man handled the situation was not the way it should have been handled, but say that he was apparently intending to discipline the little girl because she had been acting out for a period of time and it seemed no one was around to handle it.

The girl's mother noted that her daughter had been playing a few feet away from where she was, but maintains that her daughter was doing nothing wrong.

The man, who has now been identified, was with a group of volunteers helping with the event, but is not part of the Cardboard Prophets organization, the girl's mother said.

The girl's father, who was not in attendance because he was working, confirmed that a police report has been filed.  "I'm going to leave it in there [sic] hands and pray he doesn't hurt any other kids," he said, noting that the man, whose wife was also in attendance, left after being confronted by others about the incident.  

The man's wife tried to apologize, the girl's grandmother said, but said that she told the woman that he is old enough to know better.  Grandma, who says she is still "ferocious," said the woman said her husband "meant nothing by it" and that the couple has foster children.

The couple does not have foster children, a new source says, and notes that the man has been an incredible step-father to now-adult children for nearly two decades.  

The source says both the man and his wife immediately tried to apologize, but the family would not receive it, and further, has ignored additional attempts to calm the situation, which is now raging.  

The girl's parents say the wife of the man did ask them to call her, but by that time they had already filed a police report.

The girl's father said the detective has already been in contact with the family and expects that the investigation is moving forward.

We reached out to Mike Karl, whose Cardboard Prophets organization hosted the Sunday event, and he said that he advised the family to contact authorities rather than take "vigilante justice," and that the man's behavior was unacceptable and that he would not be welcome at future events.  "If it were my son, I would be very upset," he said.  

Karl noted that as soon as the situation occurred, students and volunteers confronted the man, and that volunteers "acted quickly to connect the dots to get the right authorities involved for the child and the parents," and that the man is "in our prayers."

Cardboard Prophets announced on its Facebook page that the Mother's Day Picnic in the Park event was a huge success, with 254 meals served to homeless and low income mothers.  

"We believe everyone deserves LOVE, dignity and respect and EVERYONE should feel special on days like today."

On how the incident affects Cardboard Prophets' mission, Karl said "We live in a city and a time that’s much different than times of old; we have too much gun violence, hate and our kids are suffering from hunger and homelessness.

We can’t allow things like this to keep us indoors.  We must continue to show love and support to change the culture that, sadly, our world has become."

Lansing Police Public Information Officer Merrit did not respond to a request for comment.

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