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'Supernanny' Dad Under Investigation For Abuse

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: July 9, 2013 at 09:04 PM
DELTONA -

Authorities are investigating a possible child abuse case involving a family featured on the reality television show "Supernanny," the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies and the state Department of Children & Families were alerted to the family by a concerned citizen about a week after the Feb. 13 episode aired. The segment featured the Davis family of Deltona.

In the show, Phil Davis, the father, is seen repeatedly cursing at the family's five children, ages 2 to 14. DCF said they are concerned about two instances in which he is shown slapping a young child in the face. It's unclear if the complaint it based solely on what was shown on the TV program.

"It's just not appropriate," spokesman John Harrell said. "We want to confirm that this behavior is not continuing."

Davis' father said the children are healthy and well cared for.

"It's all blown out of proportion," Phil Davis Sr. said. "Those kids love him to death and he loves them to death."

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office sent a deputy to the family's home last week and spoke with one of the children, who said she didn't think her stepfather was abusing them, according to an incident report.

The report did not name the child or the family because of the nature of the investigation.

The children's mother told the deputy that there were upward of 30 people in her home around the clock during the filming and that if any abuse had occurred it would have already been reported, the report states.

The deputy also contacted the show's producer, who confirmed that what was aired on the show had occurred, and said no further behavior had taken place which he believed to be abusive.

Neighbors told investigators the family appeared to be normal and that they hadn't seen any signs of abuse.

No criminal charges have been filed, but the investigation is ongoing.

Gary Davidson, a public information officer with the sheriff's office, called the video an "important piece of evidence" but said it was not the only thing investigators are looking at.

"We are investigating a case of possible child abuse," Davidson said Tuesday. "We're not going to make a judgment call until we can determine all the facts and circumstances."

"Supernanny" features Jo Frost, described by ABC as a "modern-day Mary Poppins" who visits struggling families around the nation and offers them stern but compassionate parenting advise.

Davis Sr. said his son coaches three little league baseball teams and that the show doesn't tell the whole story.

"They're healthy, happy and you won't find no bruises on them," he said of the children.

ABC, which produces the show, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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