ANCHORAGE, Alaska —
On the air, host Phil McGraw called Beagley's actions abusive and over the top.
Beagley is married to an Anchorage police officer who was aware of the punishment, Bondarev said. The husband, Gary Beagley, also was investigated, according to municipal prosecutor Cynthia Franklin. She declined to elaborate, saying only that he has not been charged.
On the show, Jessica Beagley said the boy acts up and lies. She said other disciplinary actions such as time-outs, spankings and soap in the mouth have had no effect on his misbehavior.
"I would definitely say that (the boy) is the biggest stress in my life," she said.
Bill Ingaldson, Beagley's attorney, declined to make his client available for an interview. He said she was on the show to seek help about the boy, who was adopted with his brother when they were 5 years old. She saw a "Dr. Phil" episode inviting frustrated parents to the show, according to her lawyer, so she wrote to producers but didn't hear back until 18 months later.
She originally sent a video showing her talking to her children about cold showers as a consequence of misbehavior, but producers wanted to see the actual discipline, Ingaldson said.
The subsequent video was made after legitimate misbehavior, and Beagley's sole motivation was to find solutions, he said.
"She's being portrayed as this evil person, which isn't at all the case," he said. "She's a really caring mom."
Show spokeswoman Stacey Luchs said producers routinely accept home videos or ask participants to tape "naturally occurring behaviors and interactions, in order to gain insight" when dealing with family dynamics.
"We were shocked by what we saw, and called for the immediate halting of this behavior and also referred, at the show's expense, both mother and child for evaluation and treatment with appropriate professionals," she told The Associated Press in an e-mail.