A man who touched dog shock collars to each of his four children was sentenced to 36 months probation
Todd Marcum, 41, did not fasten the collars on his children, but activated them and touched them to their arms or napes of their necks
, Marion County Deputy District Attorney Jodie Bureta said.
Marcum's children were 3, 6, 8 and 9 at the time of the abuse.
Marcum pleaded guilty
to four felony charges of criminal mistreatment as part of a plea agreement.
"It was meant to be a joke by Mr. Marcum," his attorney Jay Edwards said before adding that Marcum had shocked himself with the collar many times. Since his arrest and during a subsequent pre-trial release, Marcum began counseling, Edwards said.
James also sentenced Marcum to 60 days in jail, a portion of which he has already served, for a charge of contempt of court after he violated a restraining order restricting him from seeing his children.
On Aug. 29, a caller reported to Salem Police that Marcum was with his children at their home, Bureta said. Marion County jail records show Marcum has been in custody since.
Bureta said Marcum's actions may have been sparked by his use of pornography, which led him to neglect the children and warped him to think his actions were OK.
Marcum's wife, Dawn, asked the court to allow her husband to reform through counseling and parenting classes, but remain a part of the children's lives.
Two of the children wanted their dad to come home, she said.
"What I want them to take from this is everyone makes mistakes," Dawn Marcum said. She said allowing her husband to reform his actions would teach the children a better lesson than seeing him in jail.
"I know that Todd can get better and right his wrong," she said.
Todd Marcum tearfully pledged in court to never again make the same mistake.
"There's no way I can make any excuse for what I've done," he said. "It's going to take my life to make it up to my family."
Marcum said his time in jail has been characterized by sleeplessness and stress.
"The agony of thinking I was never going to see my family — my wife and kids — again, it was the worst moment of my life," he said.
James said Marcum's actions did not reflect the love for his family he professed in court Monday.
"There is a maliciousness about making children cry on purpose," she said. "And it is that maliciousness you need to get a handle on."
She encouraged Marcum to reform, for the sake of the four children.
"They deserve to see a parent who makes amends, a parent who gets it, albeit belatedly," James told Marcum. "Do what is right."