A mom is filing a complaint after cutting off her daughter’s ponytail in a Utah courtroom in exchange for a lighter sentence for the 13-year-old.
Valerie Bruno's daughter, Kaytlen Lopan, was charged with assault in March after she and a friend chopped off several inches of hair from the head of a 3-year-old girl they didn’t know at a McDonald's restaurant.
At the May 28 hearing, District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen initially ordered Lopan to pay damages to the victim, spend 30 days in detention and serve 276 hours of community service as punishment.
But then Johansen said he would offer Bruno another “option” if she didn’t want her daughter volunteering with the “(youth) work crew.”
"I will cut [the community service] by 150 hours if you want to cut her hair right now," the judge told Bruno. "I'll go get a pair of scissors and we'll whack that ponytail off."
At the time, the mother agreed and cut the girl’s hair up to her ponytail holder, a length that the judge and the 3-year-old victim’s mother agreed upon.
But now, Bruno says the reason behind her formal complaint against the judge is that “an eye for an eye” isn’t how children should be taught “right from wrong.”
"She definitely needed to be punished for what had happened," Bruno told the Deseret News. "But I never dreamt it would be that much of a punishment."
The victim’s mother, Mindy Moss, says she’s happy with the hearing’s outcome. "Why shouldn't she get her hair cut? The other little girl had to get her hair cut. It fits the crime," Moss said, referring to the 11-year-old girl who helped Lopan cut of the 3-year-old’s hair.
Lopan’s accomplice was also ordered to have her hair lopped off, but she was allowed to get it done at a salon. “It was not really unattractive. They tried to make it decent, but there was really nothing left," Johansen said of the 11-year-old’s haircut.
Lopan also admitted during the hearing to threatening a Colorado teenager with rape and mutiliation over the phone for a period of eight months.
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