Police in California have arrested a couple accused of neglecting and torturing their 10 children for “sadistic purposes,” keeping them in a “squalid” home flecked with spoiled food and animal feces.
The children, who range in age from four to 12-years old, were burned, bruised, punctured, and shot with a pellet gun, Fairfield Police Lt. Greg Hurlbut said in a press conference Monday.
After conducting extensive interviews with the children over the past six weeks, authorities said they discovered “a long and continuous history of severe physical and emotional abuse of the children,” and arrested the children’s parents, Ina Rogers and Jonathan Allen, on child neglect, torture, and child abuse charges.
On Monday, Allen, 29, was arraigned on seven felony torture charges and nine counts of felony child abuse, according to court records He’s being held at Solano County jail on a $ 5.2 million bond and has pleaded not guilty.
“I’m horrified by the statements given by these children,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Sharon Henry said Monday, adding that the kids had been tortured “in this case for sadistic purposes.”
Rogers has been charged with child neglect but was released last month after posting bail. The 30-year-old has ardently denied the charges against her and defended her husband, calling the allegations “appalling” and arguing that “not one of my kids even has a cavity.”
“My husband is amazing person. I am amazing mother,” she told reporters from her doorstep Monday. “I am not going to stop fighting.”
Authorities said they stumbled upon the house, which they described as squalid and unsafe, after receiving a call on March 31 about a missing 12-year-old. When police found the boy and brought him home, they searched the residence and found nine other children, whom they say they then “rescued from horrible living conditions.”
Rotten food and feces covered some floors, while other areas of the home were impassable, Hurlburt said Monday. A video taken from inside the house shows filthy rooms filled with piles of toys and clothes, doors pulled off their hinges, and mattresses pushed up against the walls.
Officers immediately took the children and placed them into protective custody, and arrested Rogers, charging her with neglect. She was released after posting $ 10,000 bail.
Rogers pushed back against the police’s characterizations of the home, explaining that she had torn apart her house while looking for her missing son.
“Fear set in … that my son was missing,” she told reporters, according to CBS News. “So I ripped up my whole house … tore everything out of the closet, lifted up the beds.”
She described herself as a hard-working mother who homeschools the children while working as a medical technician full-time, ABC 13 reported.
Of the 10 children who had been living in the home, Roberts said that eight were fathered by Allen, and the other two were hers from previous relationships. Rogers told reporters that she also has another child, a 14-year-old, who does not currently live with her.
“Why would I ever have a house full of children who were abused or allow them to be abused?” she asked the media Monday. “Anybody who knows me personally knows…this is out of my character…all these allegations are ludicrous…”