The Plain Dealer from Cleveland, Ohio (2024)

Friday, February 14, 2014 The Plain Dealer cleveland.com A7 Abuse allegations Rescued children adapting to normalcy Email plea uncovered assaults at home METRO Abuse allegations Willoughby Man, 64, dies in fire in his mobile home He apparently collapsed trying to escape AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press CINCINNATI Just days after being freed from a nightmarish ordeal of abuse, three Ohio children who were chained to their beds and deprived of food are now relishing the seemingly mundane: attending school, interacting with other kids and going out for ice cream for the first time, authorities said Thursday. The children, removed from the home last week after one girl sent an email pleading for help to a teacher at their online school, are adjusting well after months of beatings, sexual assaults and physical restraint so severe they couldn't move from their beds, Scioto County sheriff's Capt. David Hall said. "They're lucky to be alive," he said. The children have been living with a foster family and enjoying normalcy, perhaps for the first time in their lives, Hall said.

"They told us they never had ice cream or a milkshake before," Hall said. In court documents obtained by The Associated Press, authorities describe "horrific" conditions the children were subjected to by their mother, stepfather and grandmother in their home in Wheelersburg, in southern Ohio. Since at least May, the three adults are accused of tying and chaining the 9- and 11-year-old girls and their 8-year-old brother to their beds so they were "unable to move or get out of the bed" for weeks at a time, according to arrest documents filed in Ports- mouth Municipal Court. The stepfather is accused of raping each girl multiple times while forcing the other to watch, the documents said. The children also described being forced to take their clothes off to be beaten with belts and paddles, and they had marks and scars to match their stories, Hall said.

He declined to detail their scars but described them as extensive. Hall said one of the adults admitted to tying up the children as punishment "because they were stealing food." Deputies found locks on the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards in the home, he said. The children's mother, stepfather and grandmother were arrested Tuesday on child endangerment charges. The Associated Press is not naming the suspects to protect the children's identities. Attorneys for the adults either declined to comment or didn't return phone messages.

Hall said he expects more charges to be filed after a grand jury considers the case. Their next court date is Feb. 20. During interviews with detectives, Hall said the kids were ecstatic to be able to choose snacks out of a vending machine. "These little things we take for granted, they were just thrilled," Hall said.

Hall said he didn't know which of the sisters sent the email for help, which went to a teacher at the Toledo-based Virtual Academy on Jan. 30. The children's stepfather has denied the accusations, Hall said. FREE $100 on Gift any card purchase valid SAVE WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY over $399 SINCE 1925 FISH FURNITURE MAYFIELD HEIGHTS NORTH OLMSTED (440) 461-1050 (440) 779 7700 New sales only. One per household.

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Fire officials say the fire started about 5 a.m. in the Orchard Mobile Home Park on Euclid Avenue. Assistant Fire Chief Kurt Cook said the man was pulled from the fire near the door of his home. Cook said it appeared the man was trying to escape the fire but collapsed. mobile home at the Orchard Mobile Home Park.

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12-5 AVAILABLE ALWAYS after falling on ice while fighting the fire. Fire officials are withholding the man's name until his family is notified. Cook said the back end of the man's trailer, where he was found, was fully engulfed in flames and sustained the most damage. The heat of the fire also damaged two nearby trailers. Cook said it appears the man lived alone.

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The Plain Dealer from Cleveland, Ohio (2024)

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