Nine Months Not Enough For Locking Boys In Cages
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 7, 2004
OSHAWA, ONTARIO--An Ontario court has issued a nine-month sentence to a couple for abusing their adoptive sons and locking them in wire mesh cages.
The sentence, announced Monday by Ontario Court Judge Donald Halikowski, means that the couple will likely spend just three months behind bars because provincial jail guidelines allow prisoners to be released on full parole after serving one-third of their sentences. Prosecutors had asked for the wife to serve up to eight years and the husband to serve five years for the crimes.
"Both accused share equal responsibility as parents. Both failed." Judge Halikowski said. "What started out as good intentions descended darkly into abusive behavior . . . ending in near torture."
The husband and wife pleaded guilty in January to forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and neglect of the boys, who are their biological nephews. The names of the couple have not been named in order to protect the privacy of the sons who are now 17 and 18 years of age and are living in foster care.
"I don't feel justice has been served," the younger son told the Globe and Mail after the sentence was announced. "I feel they should get more time."
The top government attorney in Oshawa agreed, and has already issued an appeal to the Ministry of the Attorney General requesting a review of Halikowski's ruling.
A tip from a relative three years ago led police and child-care authorities to the remote farmhouse where they rescued the boys from what they later described as one of the worst abuse situations they had ever seen.
Investigators later learned that the couple subjected the brothers to "near torture" for a period of 13 years. The boys told of being beaten, tied to their beds, handcuffed and locked overnight in a makeshift cage. They said they were forced to wear diapers because they couldn't get to the bathroom, and that they were in such fear of being punished for soiling themselves that they sometimes ate and drank their own wastes.
At a later hearing, the couple's defense argued that the boys have attention deficit disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome which made it more difficult for the parents to cope. The government's attorneys disputed those claims.
"There is no doubt they were difficult to raise," said Halikowski, according to a story from Canadian Television.