Indiana native Christopher Alan Carlson is facing six counts of felony child abuse in Arizona for allegedly taking his three grandsons on a Grand Canyon hell hike, reports the Associated Press.
Authorities claimed Carlson forced his grandsons - ages 12, 9 and 8 at the time - to hike in the Grand Canyon in triple-digit temperatures without food and water during two separate trips in August.
Carlson's trial, which began in a Phoenix federal court on Wednesday, included the questioning of his grandsons, according to the AP.
One of his grandsons reportedly stated that Carlson hit him in the face and kicked all three children during the August hikes.
"We would slow down because we were kind of exhausted," the nine-year-old reportedly testified. "He started kicking us and telling us we had to hurry."
Carlson has pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the trial, his defense attorney portrayed the 45-year-old grandfather as a health nut who was just trying to get his overweight grandchildren in shape.
"I suppose to an 8, 9 or 10-year-old that might seem like child abuse if you like cheeseburgers, French fries and pizza," criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Williams reportedly said during the trial. "He wanted to get them from behind the TV, the games and fast food."
Under Arizona state law, an adult who is convicted of a "dangerous crime against children," including felony child abuse, could be sentenced to a maximum of 24 years in prison. Since there are several counts against him, Carlson could potentially face life in prison if convicted on all counts.
Like Christopher Alan Carlson, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been accused of child abuse given the severity of the penalties for the crime.
For more information on the crime of child abuse, see our Related Resources section.
- Find a Phoenix Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Grandmother Talks About Grand Canyon Child Abuse Case (ABC15 News)
- Child Abuse (FindLaw)