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Such stunts even stirred Representative Patricia Schroeder to action, but her call for the FCC to investigate Enyart only added up to (surprise) additional publicity for Bob; before long, he was on dozens of Christian TV stations from Hawaii to Pittsburgh. However, such exposure was nothing compared to what came his way after...the Spanking.
John Mayns of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has been in the business of maintaining law and order for many years, and his accomplishments were rewarded in July when he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Now assigned to the investigations division, he prides himself on his ability to weigh the subtle observational distinctions that can make or break a case.
So does he feel he can easily tell the difference between, say, spanking and abuse of a child? "Ab-so-lute-ly," Mayns says. "Mr. Enyart went way over the line."
Of course, Lieutenant Mayns isn't a wholly objective party in this matter; the spankings that catapulted Enyart into the headlines involved his own two sons, Stephen, now twelve, and Anthony, who will turn eighteen on December 31.
The two boys wound up in Enyart's orbit like so: After Enyart's late-Eighties divorce from Krista, whose death earlier this year (the family has asked that its cause be kept private) resulted in Bob's getting sole custody of Josiah and Nathaniel, and a brief second marriage ("I was desperately lonely, but I was also on the rebound," Enyart says), he met and fell for Cheryl Mayns, John's ex-wife. Before long, they were engaged, and Enyart began taking a fatherly interest in Cheryl's kids.
This concern was expressed on June 24, 1994, after Stephen, then seven, failed to get into the shower as promptly as he should have. Enyart's response? Mayns says, "He stripped him down naked, bent him over my ex-wife's bed and then beat him with one of her belts."
Shortly thereafter, a concerned Anthony called his father and said that something awful had happened to Stephen. Lieutenant Mayns rushed over to Enyart's home and asked to examine Stephen for injuries. He found some. "Obviously, this was no spanking. There was some broken skin, welts, and you could see the imprint of the stitching off of the belt very clearly."
Predictably, Enyart finds Lieutenant Mayns's account hysterically overstated; he says that while he lowered Stephen's trousers to administer his belting, he didn't strip him, and he insists that the discipline on the boy produced three modest welts, nothing more.
Nevertheless, this incident and a subsequent one that took place in Colorado Springs led to numerous trials that finally, finally, finally resulted in Enyart spending fifty days in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility this spring.
While in stir, Enyart says he led a couple of prisoners to God and nearly had ax murderer William Cody Neal convinced that he should silently accept the death-penalty verdict the state was seeking against him; when Neal later decided to fight the sentence (in vain, as it turned out), Bob admits that he was "disappointed."
Otherwise, though, he portrays his time behind bars as a win-win situation. He's still a vigorous advocate of "spanking the way the conservative home-school movement does it, where you spank on the backside with a paddle or a belt, controlled, in love, where you explain why. That is the beautiful way to raise kids. Spanked kids have tender hearts; the kids with the hard hearts who despise their parents are the kids raised by Dr. Spock. And their lives have been destroyed."
As for incarceration, which he experienced many times during his Operation Rescue days, he says, "Our donations go up when I'm in jail. The kids come to visit, I get more writing done on my books. If I ever become a multimillionaire, it's because they threw me in jail. So fine. Jail is fun, anyway."
This sort of talk causes Lieutenant Mayns's blood to boil. Although he declines to let either of his sons -- of whom he now has custody -- speak to Westword (that's Enyart's game, not his), he says both are doing well under the circumstances. Yet he's sure that psychological scars remain. When Enyart and family showed up at one of Anthony's Arapahoe West football games -- in violation, Lieutenant Mayns maintains, of a no-contact order that's been in place for the better part of five years -- Stephen reportedly was worried about Anthony's safety, muttering under his breath, "Don't go over there, don't go over there, don't go over there." (Stephen's anxiety was understandable, Lieutenant Mayns says: Several years ago, after telling his mother that he would call his father or the police if Stephen was spanked again, Anthony was reportedly awakened by Enyart in the middle of the night, lectured about disrespect, whipped with a belt, made to repeatedly write out a Bible passage and forbidden to contact his dad for a week.)