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EXCLUSIVE: 'Teen Mom' Amber Could Face Felony Charges for Gary Shirley Beatdown

Mon, October 18, 2010 2:48pm EDT by Chloe Melas 26 Comments

Indiana has a unique laws on domestic abuse and reporting child abuse; Amber could wind up in more trouble than she knows!

When Teen Mom Amber Portwood was filmed punching Gary Shirley in the head on the Sept. 28 episode of the show, with their baby Leah at her feet, she probably had no idea how much legal trouble the video could create!

Apparently domestic violence in front of a child under the age of 14 in Indiana can lead to felony charges, according to Caryn Burton, Training Director at the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. called the cops in Anderson, IND., who also confirmed the possibility of felony charges in Amber’s case.

And Amber’s legal woes don’t end there: Besides the felony charges, next is the investigation that is currently underway with the Department of Child Services.

We spoke to Ann Houseworth, Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS).  Houseworth told us in the state of Indiana, any one who sees abuse or suspects abuse of a child, are mandated to call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline.

Charges can be filed against people who saw or suspected abuse if any had taken place.  The law is very clear: “Failure to report child abuse/neglect is a crime … Indiana law requires any person who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect to make an immediate oral report to DCS or to law enforcement.”

Right now the Indiana Department of Child Services is in the assessment phase of the investigation, Houseworth tells  This means that within 30 days from the start of the investigation, DCS will request interviews with parties involved; including friends, neighbors and any other witnesses.

Gary and Amber are going to be pretty busy when they get back from their Florida vacation next week, between the DCS investigation and their anticipated interviews with the Anderson Police Department’s investigation into domestic abuse by Amber against Gary.

— Jessica Finn