'She was really angry that he spanked her' Arambula family explains what led to child abuse charge

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) spoke out for the first time on Wednesday after being arrested for child abuse on Monday.

The Valley lawmaker says that he and his wife Elizabeth have their three daughters, ages seven, six and three, back home after Child Protective Services took them away for two days.

Arambula was arrested Monday on charges of willful cruelty to a child after police say they found evidence of an injury on a child they believe was caused by the assemblyman.

RELATED: California State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula arrested on child abuse charges

In an interview with Action News Anchor Liz Harrison, the Arambula's explained what happened in their home with their seven-year-old daughter Sunday night, and what they learned from the experience.

"We have nights where we get overwhelmed and feel like we have work that we need to do with our kids," said Joaquin Arambula. "That night, was a night where she was acting out."

The father of three says he spanked his daughter.

"It's what parents have to be able to do, to have some ground rules to be good parents," said Joaquin Arambula.

Elizabeth Arambula added, "She was angry, she was really angry that he spanked her. She woke up angry, and she went to school angry, and wanted to be heard."

At school the next day, the administrators called CPS after noticing an injury on her body. The little girl reportedly told authorities her dad had caused the injury. Joaquin and his wife were both interviewed by police, and Joaquin was arrested on misdemeanor charges of willful injury to a child.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says despite the children being returned to the Arambula's by CPS, his department still plans to send the case to the district attorney's office next week for formal charges.

Arambula says he is prepared to see the case play out, but in the meantime, he says he will continue representing the valley as an assemblyman and more importantly, work on being a better dad.

When Liz asked Joaquin what he would tell his daughter now that she is back home. He responded, "I just want to let her know that she's loved and that her dad cares for her tremendously, that we both do, and that she has a wonderful place with us."

After his arrest on Monday, Fresno Police ordered Joaquin Arambula to appear in a Fresno Courtroom on March 13.
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