Ten chil­dren re­moved from Cal­i­for­nia home

Mom and dad deny ac­cu­sa­tions of tor­ture

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD - BY JONATHAN J. COOPER AND JANIE HAR AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

FAIR­FIELD, Calif. — It’s un­clear whether any Cal­i­for­nia gov­ern­ment agen­cies had an op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­vene in the years au­thor­i­ties claim 10 chil­dren suf­fered “hor­rific” abuse in­side their sub­ur­ban home. Their mother told re­porters that so­cial ser­vices in­ter­viewed the kids three years ago but noth­ing came of the visit.

Ina Rogers, 31, told re­porters that she had one prior in­ter­ac­tion with child wel­fare of­fi­cials when her mother “had men­tioned some­thing” that prompted a home visit. Of­fi­cials took pic­tures of the chil­dren and in­ter­viewed them in­di­vid­u­ally, she said.

“Noth­ing was founded, my kids were placed back with me,” she said.

Solano County’s Child Wel­fare Ser­vices de­part­ment of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond Tues­day to re­quest for de­tails about the visit, or in­for­ma­tion about other in­ter­ac­tions they may have had with mem­bers of the house­hold.

Sher­iff’s and district at­tor­ney of­fi­cials say the chil­dren were res­cued from a filthy house in March and had suf­fered punc­ture wounds, burns, bruis­ing and in­juries con­sis­tent with be­ing shot with a pel­let gun. Sharon Henry, the county’s chief deputy district at­tor­ney, said they were tor­tured “for sadis­tic pur­poses.”

Their fa­ther, Jonathan Allen, 29, was ar­rested Fri­day and is in Solano County Jail on seven counts of tor­ture and nine counts of felony child abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and bail was set at $5.2 mil­lion.

Ques­tions re­main as to how the chil­dren and the al­leged abuse went un­de­tected for years un­til March 31 when po­lice re­spond­ing to a miss­ing ju­ve­nile re­port en­tered the house in sub­ur­ban Fair­field, Cal­i­for­nia, about 46 miles (74 kilo­me­ters) north­east of San Fran­cisco.

They found a home filled with rot­ted food and hu­man and an­i­mal waste, said Fair­field Lt. Greg Hurl­but. Po­lice re­moved the chil­dren, ages 4 months to 12 years, and ar­rested Rogers on sus­pi­cion of ne­glect. She was re­leased af­ter post­ing $10,000 bail.

Sto­ries about the al­leged abuse came out grad­u­ally in in­ter­views with the chil­dren over the past six weeks and eight of the chil­dren told pro­fes­sion­als about in­ci­dents dat­ing back sev­eral years, au­thor­i­ties said.

Rogers says she home-schooled the chil­dren, but the Fair­field home was not reg­is­tered as a pri­vate school and nei­ther were three prior ad­dresses in Fair­field and Vallejo, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Cal­i­for­nia law re­quires chil­dren to be en­rolled in pub­lic school un­less they meet spe­cific ex­emp­tions, such as doc­u­mented at­ten­dance at a pri­vate school. Par­ents who teach their own chil­dren can regis­ter as a pri­vate school but the state does not ap­prove, mon­i­tor or in­spect them. Some home-based in­struc­tion is also of­fered through self-di­rected pro­grams at pub­lic or char­ter schools.

Rogers said she pre­vi­ously en­rolled her two old­est chil­dren in school but de­cided to teach them her­self be­cause she didn’t think they were get­ting enough at­ten­tion. She said her daugh­ter failed to get on the school bus on her first day of kinder­garten and was later found talk­ing to a stranger and his dog at the school, she said.

At least one per­son sus­pected abuse: The chil­dren’s ma­ter­nal grand­mother.

RICH PEDRONCELLI/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The home of Ina Rogers and her hus­band, Jonathan Allen, is seen Mon­day in Fair­field, Calif. Au­thor­i­ties re­moved the 10 chil­dren liv­ing at the home on March 31.

Jonathan Allen

Ina Rogers

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