California Parents Arrested for Alleged Abuse and Torture of 13 Children

New Jersey Child Abuse AttorneysThe media recently reported on a sad story stemming from California that involved severe forms of child abuse. According to authorities, the abuse started in Texas, with the children being slapped, hit, and thrown around the house. It later escalated to beatings with a belt, then the buckle-end of the strap, and then a wooden paddle or oar. Thereafter, the children of David and Louise Turpin were caged. California Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz found probable cause that the Turpins abused and tortured 12 of their 13 children for years, tossing only a single charge of child endangerment involving their two-year-old daughter out of more than four dozen other counts. “There was an infliction of extreme pain and suffering on these children,” said Judge Schwartz, who noted that the malnutrition was so severe that at least two of the daughters would be unable to bear children.

The parents were arrested in January when their 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window and used an old cellphone to call police and report years of abuse, neglect, and living in squalor. She said her two little sisters, who were shackled to their beds, had been crying at night and wanted her to call for help. When police officers arrived at what appeared to be a neatly kept house in a Perris subdivision located some 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, they discovered a horrific scene: two girls, 11 and 14, had hastily been removed from their bonds, but a 22-year-old son remained chained to a bed. The children, ages 2 to 29, were reportedly mostly pale and severely underweight, they hadn’t bathed for months, and the house reeked of human waste.

In New Jersey, a parent, guardian, or any person who assumes custody and control over a child can be found guilty of child abuse or neglect under the following circumstances.

a. Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ;

b. Creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or

c. Commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child;

d. Or a child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent or guardian, or such other person having his custody and control, to exercise a minimum degree of care (1) in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though financially able to do so or though offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, or (2) in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm, or substantial risk thereof, including the infliction of excessive corporal punishment or using excessive physical restraint under circumstances which do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself, others or property; or by any other act of a similarly serious nature requiring the aid of the court;

e. Or a child who has been willfully abandoned by his parent or guardian, or such other person having his custody and control;

f. Or a child who is in an institution as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21) and (1) has been so placed inappropriately for a continued period of time with the knowledge that the placement has resulted and may continue to result in harm to the child’s mental or physical well-being or (2) has been willfully isolated from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.

If you or someone you know is charged with child abuse or neglect in New Jersey, please contact the experienced child abuse lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm today.

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