David and Louise Turpin pleaded not guilty to charges of torture, child abuse and a “lewd act on a child,” in a Riverside, Calif. court on Thursday afternoon
The parents were charged with holding their 13 children hostage and keeping them “chained” to furniture as they starved and beat them in their home.
Their court appointed attorney spoke outside the courthouse on January 18, 2018, defending the couple the District Attorney called “depraved,” saying: “Our clients are presumed innocent. This case will not be tried through the media.”
David Turpin was charged with one count of “lewd act on a child by force or fear or duress,” and DA Michael Hestrin explained the “Lewd act is in reference to a lewd act that David Turpin touched one of the victims in a lewd way by force or fear.” He confirmed that the victim was a female.
Twelve counts of torture were filed against both parents. “We are not charging torture on the two-year-old,” the DA said at a press conference earlier in the day. “I don’t know why but apparently the two-year-old was getting enough to eat.”
Both Turpins were charged with seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment. Their bail was increased to $13 million each.
The DA said that the children, who were homeschooled, were allowed to write in journals that were seized by police. The journals would be used as “very significant, strong evidence of what went on in that house.”
Hestrin revealed the shockingly cruel abuse the Turpins inflicted upon their children.
“Victims report as a punishment they began to be tied up. First with ropes. One victim was tied up and hog tied. When the victim escaped they used chains and padlocks to chain the victims to their beds. This was a form of punishment. These punishments would last for weeks or months at a time.”
Hestrin gave an example of their punishments. “One reason for them being chained, if they were found to wash their hands above the wrist they were accused of playing in the water and chained up. Punishment was frequent beating and strangulation.”
The Riverside Sheriff’s Department announced a fundraising website for the victims.
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