MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota mother is coming to the defense of the Vikings’ star running back.

Adrian Peterson is charged with hitting his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch in Texas. Two years ago, a mom named April did something similar at a beach in northern Minnesota.

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Onlookers saw it, and she was charged with maliciously punishing her boy.

“We were taught,” April said, “that hands are made for loving.”

And that’s why April said she used a switch to discipline her 2-year-old. She said the boy was being defiant by going into deep water in a lake near Hibbing.

“It’s the same as a rubber band,” she said. “Now if you take a hand, after a while, a red mark would show. The switch is–that’s the tool that’s looked as the disciplinary.”

A family member felt otherwise and contacted authorities. April and her husband, Ryan, were charged with a gross misdemeanor.

Court documents accuse April of using “unreasonable force or cruel discipline that was excessive under the circumstances,” and goes on to say, “pictures show two large welts on the lower back.”

“To be considered a malicious punishment of a child, I was heartbroken and surprised,” April said.

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April and her husband have four kids under age 7. They didn’t want their faces on camera, but said the charges cost the family emotionally and financially. And April said she felt judged constantly, and was ashamed.

“The more that I would open up and show my love and my intent and that I never cared to harm a child, and this is how I was raised, and this is how I was taught, and it just seems like it dug a hole bigger,” April said.

The case was dismissed after one year probation without incident. The couple felt it was behind them until Peterson was in the spotlight, charged with child abuse.

“It brought me right back,” April said.

April feels this is not a race or geographic issue and would like people to reserve judgment until Peterson has his day in court.

“Only Adrian knows his intent,” April said. “Just because there are allegations of someone being labeled a child abuser due to one situation, to not point a finger and look at them as a child abuser.”

The family met with a counselor who suggested time outs as a form of punishment. April said that is now the only discipline the family uses.

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Peterson has said he is not a child abuser. He’s charged with a more serious offense and is expected to be in court in Texas next month.

Jennifer Mayerle