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Ohio family arrested after children tied up, beaten, raped

By Amanda Lee Myers / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:33 a.m. HST, Feb 13, 2014

CINCINNATI » A girl beaten and tied to her bed, sometimes for weeks at a time, won freedom for herself and her siblings by emailing a teacher at her online school to plead for help, officials said Wednesday.

The email late last month led the teacher to call 911 and after an investigation involving police and children's services authorities led to the arrests of the girl's mother, grandmother and stepfather, police said.

The children all were beaten and tied to their beds, and the 44-year-old man arrested in the case also is charged with repeatedly raping his stepdaughters, ages 9 and 11, and abusing their 8-year-old brother, police said.

The girl and her siblings now are in foster care, attend a bricks-and-mortar public school and seem to be doing well, said Scioto County Sheriff's Office Capt. David Hall, who didn't know which of the two girls sent the email.

"I'm sure like most kids she trusted in her teacher that she would get her help," Hall said. "We don't know if the opportunity was there that maybe no adults were around. Or maybe she just had enough."

He called the case "a horrific situation for the children in this house."

The girl sent the email to her teacher at the Toledo-based Ohio Virtual Academy on Jan. 30, Hall said. She asked the teacher to call 911 because she and her siblings were being "tied to the beds and beat," authorities said.

The children later told deputies that they were restrained with ropes and chains for weeks at a time, sometimes longer, and only occasionally were untied to do schoolwork. They 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.

Though the children said they were only sometimes allowed to eat and were "very hungry," they didn't appear overly malnourished, he said.

A school administrator said she was proud of the teacher and all the staff at the online school.

"We care deeply about the welfare and needs of all our students," senior head of school Kristin Stewart said in a statement. "Our teachers are extraordinarily dedicated, highly trained, and have special relationships with their students."

At the request of the sheriff's office, the school declined to make the teacher available, saying she was a potential witness in the investigation.

The children's stepfather, originally from the Virgin Islands, has denied the accusations and wasn't cooperating with investigators, Hall said. He's the father of one child in the home, a 2-year-old girl, who was not believed to have been harmed.

Hall said one of the other adults is cooperating and told deputies the children were tied up as punishment "because they were stealing food" at the home in Wheelersburg, a town across the Ohio River from Kentucky, about 90 miles south of Columbus in Appalachian country.

The Associated Press is not naming the suspects to protect the children's identities. All three suspects had their first court appearance on Wednesday, when pleas of not guilty were entered for them. The stepfather is being held on a $1 million bond, while the mother and grandmother are being held on $150,000 bonds.

All are being charged with child endangerment, but Hall said he expects more charges to be filed after a grand jury considers the case.

Hall said the children have been placed in "a very good home with a good family" in southern Ohio.

"They're getting to eat now. They have loving people around them," he said. "They're just little kids. They like to love and be loved, and they deserve all that."

Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed to this report.

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I usually joke around when a person asks where that "crazy" person is from, and my answer is usually "OHIO". Has always been a joke, but seems to be more and more the case nowadays.
on February 12,2014 | 03:28PM
nitpikker wrote:
there AND Pa.
on February 13,2014 | 05:29AM
TaiBow wrote:
Too Sad - - - Ohio needs some introspection, education, and law enforcement!
on February 12,2014 | 06:38PM
csdhawaii wrote:
This could have happened anywhere. Take a look at our own Hawaii news for examples.
on February 12,2014 | 08:44PM
kailua000 wrote:
yes but everyone here thinks Hawaii is perfect and its only the Haoles who commit crimes in Hawaii.
on February 13,2014 | 05:57AM
Morimoto wrote:
Really, never heard that before as the prison population is mostly "brown people".
on February 13,2014 | 07:35AM
nitpikker wrote:
hooray for the teacher! parents AND grandma deserve to be punished to the max.
on February 13,2014 | 05:31AM
nitpikker wrote:
hooray for the teacher! parents AND grandma deserve to be punished to the max.
on February 13,2014 | 05:33AM
krusha wrote:
Shows that the worst evil and demons in this world are man made. Probably a lot more kids in the same situation right now. Hopefully they can rescue of those those kids too and show them that they too can be saved if they just reach out to somebody for help.
on February 13,2014 | 05:53AM
kailua000 wrote:
mother and grandmother are just as guilty as the man. they allowed it to happen. they should be held on as much bond as the man. Disgusting.
on February 13,2014 | 05:57AM
Ripoff wrote:
on February 13,2014 | 08:55AM
joeglick wrote:
Throw them all in the ocean and let either the sharks or the radiation get them.. Bunch of bone heads.
on February 13,2014 | 05:11PM
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