Ohio ‘Father of the Year’ Faces Charges After Punishing 6-Year-Old Daughter by Chasing Her While Wearing Clown Mask

Vernon Barrett Jr. (WKBN screenshot)
Vernon Barrett Jr. (WKBN screenshot)

Y’all looking to get murked out in these streets. You can’t just run around wearing a clown mask chasing a terrified child, especially with It currently playing in theaters, and expect the scenario to end well.


But one Boardman, Ohio, man—who, I guess, is competing for Father of the Year—decided to do exactly that, donning a clown mask and chasing his 6-year-old daughter in an attempt to get her to behave, according to WKBN. The chase ended, just about as one would expect, with a shot being fired, although no one was hurt.

According to the report, Vernon Barrett Jr. put on the mask and started to chase his young daughter from their apartment and outside their house. A woman reported to the police that the child—who was being chased by a masked man—ran in front of her car screaming before jumping into her car.

The terrified 6-year-old then exited the vehicle and ran into someone else’s apartment in an attempt to get away. When the child got to that apartment, she begged the family to let her stay because there was a clown chasing her.

Dion Santiago, one of the people living in the apartment, told the police that when he looked out of his window, he saw the man—now identified as Barrett, still wearing the mask and standing outside the building. And so, Santiago took his gun and fired it toward the yard of the building next door to scare off the would-be attacker.

Officers eventually arrived at the scene. Another family member in the Santiago household attempted to bring the girl out to officers, but when an officer tried to explain to the girl that the clown was her father, the girl ran away again and hid in the back bedroom.

A verbal argument ensued between Santiago and Barrett, with both men screaming at each other. According to authorities, Barrett shouted at Santiago, “I’ll get you next week!”


Santiago told police that he became nervous when he saw the man wearing a clown mask because of the not-so-pleasant associations. Again, people out here acting really stupid.

Barrett insisted that he was just playing a prank on his daughter in order to scare her into behaving because she was having behavioral issues at school and home. Barrett told officers that he could not discipline his daughter because the child’s mother was already in prison for child endangerment after she stepped on the child and broke several of her ribs.


Well, Vernon, terrorizing small children out of their wits is definitely one way to get them to behave. That’s definitely not going to backfire and will not result in any lasting trauma, especially for a kid who’s already had to live through being stepped on by her own mother.

Jesus Christ, guys. Come on. We have to do better in 2017.

Anyway, the cops clearly saw that this was not a good parenting tactic and charged Barrett with child endangerment and inducing panic. However, Santiago was also charged with using weapons while intoxicated; authorities say he had had a few beers prior to firing his weapon.


Read more at WKBN. 

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi



I think it’s a really fucking stupid decision to terrify this child in particular. I think for a kid who hasn’t been subjected to terrible abuse, it’s a pretty fucking funny motivator. Instead of charging this man they should have given him resources for free parenting classes. There is a middle ground between breaking her tiny ribs and no discipline at all.

Chasing her outside and letting it continue for as long as it did is a huge lapse in judgement but it’s not malicious. This guy needs new skills, not a fucking court date.