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Judge: 13-year-old girl gets lighter sentence if her ponytail gets cut off

A judge told a girl who cut the hair off a three-year-old child that he would reduce her sentence if her ponytail was lopped off in his courtroom, and now the girl's mother says she has filed a formal complaint, NBC station KSL of Salt Lake City reports.

Kaytlen Lopan, 13, was accused in March of assault. Police in Price, Utah, said that Lopan and an 11-year-old friend met a 3-year-old girl at a McDonald's and used scissors to cut several inches of hair from her head, KSL reported Friday.

KSL said it was given an audio recording by Lopan's mother, Valerie Bruno, of a May 28 hearing on the case and another stemming from a series of phone calls Lopan was accused of making to another teen that included threats of rape and mutilation. In the tape, KSL said, 7th District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen ordered Lopan to serve 30 days in detention, pay restitution and serve 276 hours of community service. 

But in the recording, Johansen tells Bruno he'll slice the community service. Here's the exchange as reported by KSL:

"I'm going to give you this option: I will cut that by 150 hours if you want to cut her hair right now," Johansen said.

"Me, cut her hair?" Bruno asked.

"Right now," the judge said. "I'll go get a pair of scissors and we'll whack that ponytail off."

(Mindy) Moss, the victim's mother, was in the courtroom and fully supported the penalty. She even spoke up when she didn't believe Bruno had cut enough of Lopan's ponytail off.

"Satisfied? Is it short enough?" Johansen asked Moss.

"No," she replied. "My daughter's hair that had never been cut, that was down to (the middle of her back), was cut up to here."

"Take it off clear up to the rubberband," the judge told Bruno, who protested that the scissors he'd given her weren't up to the task.

"Take a little bit at a time," Johansen said.

KSL said Johansen also had ordered the other girl involved to have her hair cut, but allowed it to be done by a salon.

Utah court and state officials told KSL that because of the girls' ages, they couldn't confirm that a complaint had been filed or even say that Lopan had been in juvenile court.

KSL reported that Bruno told the station that she regretted accepting the offer.

Read the whole KSL report here.

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