DA: 10 kids were stran­gled, shot with cross­bow, wa­ter­boarded

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - By Jonathan J. Cooper and Janie Har

FAIR­FIELD » The 10 chil­dren res­cued from a filthy, abu­sive Cal­i­for­nia home were stran­gled, punched, shot with cross­bows and sub­jected to wa­ter­board­ing by their fa­ther and their mother did noth­ing to stop it, prose­cu­tors said.

The de­tails of al­leged abuse were in­cluded in a mo­tion to in­crease the bail of Ina Rogers, 31, who was charged with nine counts of felony child abuse Wed­nes­day in Solano Superior Court. Rogers did not en­ter a plea, but has pre­vi­ously de­nied al­le­ga­tions her chil­dren were harmed.

“On a con­tin­u­ous ba­sis the chil­dren were get­ting punched, stran­gled, bit­ten, shot with weapons such as cross­bows and bb guns, hit with weapons such as sticks and bats, sub­jected to ‘wa­ter­board­ing’ and hav­ing scald­ing wa­ter poured on them,” Solano County Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Veron­ica Juarez wrote.

Prose­cu­tors have re­fused to dis­cuss de­tails of the al­le­ga­tions against Rogers and her hus­band Jonathan Allen, 29, who has pleaded not guilty to mul­ti­ple counts of tor­ture and felony child abuse. He is in Solano County Jail on $5.2 mil­lion bail.

The mo­tion states that when Fair­field Po­lice ar­rived at the two-story house in a suburb 46 miles (74 kilo­me­ters) north­east of San Fran­cisco on March 31, they found the chil­dren “hud­dled to­gether on the liv­ing room floor” in a home lit­tered with fe­ces and trash.

“The chil­dren ap­peared to be skit­tish and spoke with speech im­ped­i­ments,” she said.

Of­fi­cers re­moved the 10 chil­dren, ages 12 years to 4 months, from the house.

Juarez al­leges Rogers as­sisted in the abuse and “dis­suaded the chil­dren” from re­port­ing their in­juries, which in­clude bro­ken arms. Prose­cu­tors would not elab­o­rate on the ac­cu­sa­tions or chil­dren’s in­juries.

On Wed­nes­day, Judge Wil­liam J. Pen­der­gast set bail at $495,000 for Rogers, say­ing she “may not be a dan­ger to the pub­lic at large, but these charges make clear she is a dan­ger to the chil­dren.”

It’s un­clear whether any Cal­i­for­nia gov­ern­ment agen­cies had an op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­vene sooner or knew of the tur­moil in the house­hold.

Solano County court records show that Allen was charged with four felonies in 2011, in­clud­ing cor­po­ral in­jury, as­sault with a firearm and crim­i­nal threats in a case in­volv­ing his wife, iden­ti­fied by her ini­tials, I.R.

Prose­cu­tors al­leged Allen used a .22 cal­iber re­volver in some of the crimes.

He pleaded no con­test to cor­po­ral in­jury as part of a deal with prose­cu­tors. He was sen­tenced to 180 days and three years of pro­ba­tion. Prose­cu­tors dropped the other charges.

Rogers 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 pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on de­tails about the visit or other in­ter­ac­tions they may have had with mem­bers of the house­hold.

Rogers says she home­schooled the chil­dren, but the two-story Fair­field, Cal­i­for­nia, home was not reg­is­tered as a pri­vate school and nei­ther were three prior ad­dresses where the fam­ily lived 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 are re­quired to reg­is­ter with the state, but the state does not ap­prove, mon­i­tor or in­spect them.

The Fair­field-Suisun Uni­fied School Dis­trict had no record that the stu­dents at­tended any school in the dis­trict, said Tim Goree, a dis­trict spokesman.

Po­lice re­spond­ing to a miss­ing ju­ve­nile re­port found a home filled with rot­ted food and hu­man and an­i­mal waste, Fair­field Lt. Greg Hurl­but said. Po­lice re­moved the chil­dren 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 was taken into cus­tody af­ter the hear­ing. Her court-ap­pointed at­tor­ney, Barry New­man, de­clined com­ment.

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