Wing facing child abuse charge

Deb Wing
Now facing a felony child abuse charge, Deborah Wing met with Anna Maria city officials in November to discuss the private security used at Bayfest. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – Former Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Kay Wing is facing a charge of third degree felony child abuse without great bodily harm.

According to the Holmes Beach Police Department, Wing, 53, 5626 Gulf Drive N., Holmes Beach, was arrested on Wednesday, April 4 and charged with violating Florida Statute 827.03(2)(c).

According to the statute, “A person who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.”

If convicted, the charge carries a potential penalty of up to $5,000 fine and/or up to five years imprisonment.

An arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Friday, May 4, at 9 a.m. at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

On Thursday, April 5, a no contact with the victim order was issued as a condition of pretrial release. Wing’s printed name, what appeared to be her signature and the handwritten date, 04-05-18, appear at the bottom of that form, on the Manatee Clerk of Court’s website. Wing was released that day on a $500 bond.

“I’m confident that this incident will be expunged,” Wing’s attorney, Pete Mackey, said on Friday.

Wing expressed a similar sentiment, saying she does not believe the police reports provide a completely accurate portrayal of the events that transpired during the family disagreement. She said she is hopeful the charge will be dismissed.

Wing resigned as Chamber president in November. She was named president in mid-2015 after serving as vice president for six years.

Police reports

According to the police reports, Officer Mike Walker and Sgt. Brian Copeman from the Holmes Beach Police Department responded to a call at 11:10 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4.

In their reports, Wing is referred to as “Person 1” and Mark Davis, of Bradenton, who was present, is referred to as “Person 2.”

Walker’s report states: “I was dispatched to a missing person. Upon arrival I spoke with Person 1 (Wing), who advised juvenile ran away from the residence. Person 1 (Wing) stated juvenile left the residence approximately three hours (ago).

“Person 1 (Wing) started becoming agitated and uncooperative, stating I was only asking questions to send to the newspaper. I advised I was asking juvenile’s name so I had some idea of what missing person we were supposed to be looking for.

“Person 2 (Davis) called stating he located juvenile hiding in a nearby parking lot. Person 2 (Davis) then drove juvenile back to the residence where juvenile stayed seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.

“Sgt. Copeman and I then walked over to the vehicle and began speaking with juvenile who was visibly upset and crying. Juvenile stated juvenile and Person 1 (Wing) were in an argument. Juvenile stated juvenile was lying in bed and told Person 1 (Wing) juvenile hated person 1 (Wing). Juvenile stated Person 1 (Wing) became irate and began slapping her on her left arm and leg. Juvenile advised Person 1 (Wing) was slapping juvenile so much that Person 2 (Davis) had to come and restrain Person 1 (Wing).

“Juvenile stated that once Person 1 (Wing) was restrained juvenile ran out of the house in fear. Juvenile stated juvenile did not want to go back to the residence,” Walker’s report says.

Copeman’s report says, “Person 2 (Davis) stated that Person 2 (Davis) had to step in and pull Person 1 (Wing) off the juvenile. Person 2 (Davis) stated that Person 1 (Wing) did hit juvenile on the leg and arm. Juvenile said Person 1 (Wing) is never going to forgive juvenile and that Person 1 (Wing) will hate juvenile forever. Juvenile also stated that Person 1 (Wing) has made several comments in the past about wanting to kill herself.”

The officers’ probable cause affidavit posted Monday at the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court website says, “The victim also stated that the defendant (Wing) advised she was going to kill herself in an attempt to make the victim feel guilty.”

According to Walker and Copeman’s reports, Wing was handcuffed, transported to the Holmes Beach Police Department where the arrest paperwork was completed. She was then transported by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to the county jail.

“Juvenile’s grandmother responded to the scene to take custody of juvenile. I also contacted the abuse hotline and advised of the situation,” Walker’s report noted.

Manatee County court records indicate that Wing has no prior legal issues other than traffic violations and a dissolution of marriage/child support case.

State statutes

Corporal punishment of a child by a parent is not illegal in Florida.

According to Florida Statute 39.01(2), “Abuse means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child.”

According to Florida Statute 39.01(30)(a), “Harm to a child’s health or welfare can occur when any person inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical, mental, or emotional injury.”