By Ron Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In light of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s indictment on child abuse charges, we wanted to know the legal line between discipline and child abuse in California.

Local child abuse experts say spanking is legal in California, but it must be done with an open hand to the buttocks.

In Sacramento County, the Child Abuse Prevention Center works with Child Protective Services and law-enforcement agencies to educate parents accused of child abuse.

So what does the law say about physical punishment.

“It’s a broad spectrum, but if the abuse inflicts internal or external injury there you have the abuse of corporal punishment,” said spokeswoman Becca Whitman.

Investigators say depending on the severity of abuse, the violation could be considered either a misdemeanor or felony. That also includes mental abuse.

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