ASTABULA, Ohio (AP) — A husband and wife kept their two adopted daughters in northeastern Ohio locked in a bedroom for all but a few hours each day where they were beaten, given little to eat and sexually abused by the man over at least two years, prosecutors said.
The girls, now both teens, reluctantly told authorities about what had happened only after they picked a lock on their bedroom door in August 2013, slipped out of the house and crashed their parents’ vehicle, according to the Ashtabula County prosecutor’s office.
Another adopted child, a mentally challenged man, also was abused by the couple and kept in a locked bedroom while a fourth adopted boy apparently was not abused, said Nicholas Iarocci, the county prosecutor.
Both parents were indicted last week on charges of kidnapping, felonious assault and child endangering. The husband was indicted on sexual battery and gross sexual imposition charges.
The couple was held being in jail, but neither has appeared in court. They are likely to be arraigned next week, Iarocci said Monday.
The Associated Press is not naming the suspects in order not to identify the girls who made the allegations of sexual assault.
All four of the children were adopted about 11 years, but it’s not clear when the abuse started, Iarocci said. “We can’t explain why these people did what they did and when it started,” he said.
The two girls, who are sisters, and the adopted adult son were kept in bedrooms with boarded-up windows at the home outside Ashtabula, which is 50 miles northeast of Cleveland, Iarocci said.
They were allowed out about two hours each day to use the bathroom and eat or for home-schooling, Iarocci said. Buckets and a metal container were left in the bedrooms for them to use as a bathroom when they were locked away, he said.
The three also said they were hit with a paddle so often that it had blood stains on it, the prosecutor’s office said.
The girls escaped on Aug. 26, 2013, and were apprehensive about notifying their adoptive parents after the State Highway Patrol investigated their vehicle accident, indicating that they were afraid of being beaten, the prosecutor’s office said.
The sisters did not mention the alleged abuse until after they were charged in the accident, according to the prosecutor. The adopted boy and adult were removed from the house soon after, Iarocci said.