Latest: Wisconsin appeals court upholds conviction in child abuse case

MADISON — A Wisconsin appeals court has ruled a couple who struck their children with rods were properly convicted of child abuse, rejecting their argument that they're following their religion.

Matthew Caminiti and his wife, Alina Caminiti were convicted of child abuse in 2014 for hitting their two young children on their bare bottoms with wooden dowels, starting when the children were two to three months old. The couple's church teaches that children are to be disciplined with rods, as instructed by the Bible.

The circuit court ruled that the state's interest in protecting children from abuse outweighs the Caminitis' freedom to follow religious teachings and control their children. The appeals court upheld that ruling Thursday.

The Caminitis' attorney didn't immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.