2008_02_simall.gifWhen Staten Island Mall shoppers saw a mother beating her 3-year-old son Tuesday afternoon, some followed her to "make sure she didn't leave," reports the Staten Island Advance. Eventually, the police arrested 33-year-old Yesenia Hausler with felony assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Hausler apparently became angry when her son either wanted to play with a new toy or wanted to buy a new toy, and punched and slapped him so hard there were handprints on his body. One witness said, "I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I wanted to go home and take my kid out of school and just hug her."

According to court papers, Hausler told the police, "The only reason that this is a problem is because I am in this country. In my country, you can hit your kids." The Advance points out that Hausler has been an American citizen her whole life, growing up in Puerto Rico.

Her husband, who has custody of the child (the couple has two older children, too) suggested she could be suffering from post-partum depression, "(My) wife needs a little bit of help. We know that. Maybe she needs more than a little bit of help. I know she needs therapy."