Wednesday 14 November 2018

Children in California torture case 'waterboarded by father'

Jonathan Allen and his wife Ina Rogers
Jonathan Allen and his wife Ina Rogers

Jonathan J Cooper and Janie Har

Prosecutors say 10 children rescued from a California home were punched, kicked, strangled, shot with a ball bearing gun and subjected to waterboarding by their father, and their mother did nothing to stop it.

The details of the alleged abuse were included in court documents for a motion to increase the bail of Ina Rogers (31) who was charged with nine counts of felony child abuse in Solano Superior Court.

Rogers did not enter a plea, but has previously denied allegations that her children were harmed. She also faces a count of child neglect involving all 10 children.

"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 in the bail request.

Ina Rogers appears in Solano County Superior Court
Ina Rogers appears in Solano County Superior Court

Since announcing on Monday that they had removed the children from the home where they say torture was carried out "for sadistic purposes", prosecutors have refused to discuss further details of the allegations against Rogers and her husband Jonathan Allen, 29.

He has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of felony child abuse and seven counts of felony torture. He is being held on 5.2 million dollars (£3.8 million) bail.

Records show the 10 children removed from the house on March 31 are aged between six months and 12 years, but the documents do not specify which children suffered which injuries.

The motion says that when Fairfield Police arrived at the two-storey house in a suburb 46 miles north east of San Francisco on March 31, they found the children "huddled together on the living room floor" in a home littered with faeces and rubbish.

"The children appeared to be skittish and spoke with speech impediments," she wrote.

Ms Juarez alleges Rogers assisted in the abuse and "dissuaded the children" from reporting their injuries, which included broken arms.

On Wednesday, Judge William J Pendergast set bail at 495,000 dollars (£365,000) 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 is unclear whether any California government agencies had an opportunity to intervene sooner or knew of 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 IR.

Prosecutors alleged Allen used a .22-calibre 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 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.

Rogers says she home-schooled the children, but the Fairfield 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.

Press Association

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