Charges Dropped

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Local prosecutors have dropped child abuse charges filed against a Panama City Beach minister.

Bay County sheriff's investigators charged Markus Bishop with felony child abuse against his teenage daughter last June. They claim Bishop slapped his daughter, leaving an imprint and welts on her face.

Bishop admitted striking his daughter, but said he was only disciplining his own child. Tuesday, the state attorney's office said there was insufficient evidence Bishop's behavior was excessive, and dropped all of the charges.

Bishop's attorney, Waylon Graham, held a press conference to announce the decision.

"When a child is misbehaving and you use some kind of physical force to discipline them, so long as they don't require medical attention, for a pop on the butt or in this case where he slapped her when she called him a bad name, they said that does not amount to child abuse," Graham says.

Bishop is the leader of the Faith Christian Family Church on Back Beach Road. He told Newschannel Seven he was confident the state would realize this was a bogus case and spun out of control because of a nasty divorce.