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London Free Press Business Section:


Couple admits to abuse

CP   2004-01-16 03:36:08  

TORONTO -- A couple who kept their two adopted boys confined in makeshift cages and beat them regularly over 13 years have pleaded guilty to several criminal charges. The house of horrors for the children, discovered after relatives filed a complaint in May 2001, shocked Durham police and children's aid officials, who found one of the youths -- then 15 -- curled up in a makeshift cage fashioned from a baby crib.

The cage was strapped to a wall and padlocked in a ramshackle two-storey farmhouse outside Blackstock, near Port Perry.

A 14-year-old came out of another bedroom, which also contained a cage.

Det. Const. Kate Lang and her partner, Const. Tim Maw, freed the 15-year-old and told him he would never have to suffer this treatment again, court was told.

"Really?" the bewildered teen responded.

The boys were taken into foster care that day.

Since then, they have been "doing as well as can be expected," Lang said.

They both attend high school now.

"This has been a very difficult case for everyone involved from the beginning," said Lang, who had been on the child abuse squad only for a month at the time of the discovery.

Police charged the adoptive parents, the father is 51 and the mother 42, with several counts relating to more than 10 years of abuse.

They also charged an adult male relative, alleged to have assisted with the abuse, with assault with a weapon and two charges of forcible confinement.

His case has yet to come to trial.

None of the accused can be named to protect the identity of the boys.

The couple agreed to each plead guilty to assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and failure to provide the necessities of life at the end of their preliminary hearing this week as part of a plea bargain.

Sentencing is scheduled for April.

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