A wise man once said that if you’re going to break the law doing something stupid, at least don’t film it. Mike and Heather Martin, the couple behind the YouTube channel DaddyOFive, not only never learned that lesson, but actually tried to make money with their videos. As a result, their actions on camera resulted in their losing custody of two of their five children and receiving five years probation for child neglect. Here’s what you should know about the case courtesy of Vista domestic violence attorney Peter M. Liss.
DaddyOFive’s YouTube channel was a typical family one that mostly showed the daily life of Mike and Heather Martin and their five children, but occasionally the channel would also post prank videos. There are plenty of prank videos and parenting videos online, but what made DaddyOFive’s videos different were that the pranks seemed mean-spirited and many people believed they actually verged into the realm of child abuse. Mike’s two children from another relationship, Emma and Cody, were subjected to the worst of it and Cody, in particular, was frequently brought to tears after being yelled at and berated by his father after doing nothing wrong.
While any Vista child abuse lawyer will tell you that emotional abuse and neglect charges are investigated and brought to court much less frequently than those involving physical abuse of a child (it’s simply much more difficult to prove emotional abuse or neglect), the fact that the DaddyOFive case attracted so much publicity made it difficult for Maryland police to overlook. And the fact that the alleged abuse was all right there on camera for the world to see made it that much easier to secure a conviction for Heather and Mike.
Emma and Cody’s biological mother regained custody of her children in May and part of the conditions of the Martins’ probation is that they are not permitted to contact the two children or post any images of them online. If they violate any of the terms of their probation, Heather and Mike could face prison sentences of up to 10 years in prison.
Unfortunately, as vlogging continues to be an increasingly lucrative profession and aspiring YouTube stars compete for more and more views, domestic violence lawyers in Vista and elsewhere warn that cases like these will become increasingly common.
If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect, do not talk to anyone without first consulting a Vista domestic violence lawyer. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050.
Creative Commons Image by Leonard J Matthews