News

‘Good Christians’ in court over abuse of their 13 children

‘Good Christians’ in court over abuse of their 13 children

The father of David Turpin, 56, says he does not believe that his son and daughter-in-law, Louise Turpin, 49, had abused their 13 children.

According to this report, Turpin’s father, James, said from his home in Princeton, West Virginia, that he did not believe the reports about the abuse.

I’m going to talk with the children, find out the real story on this as soon as I can get a call through to them.

James and his wife Betty said that the Turpins, who pleaded not guilty yesterday in California to imprisoning and torturing their kids, were considered to be “a good Christian family” in their community and added that “God called on them” to have as many children as they did.

The pair also said their grandchildren had “very strict homeschooling,” and they would memorise long passages of the Bible, some of them aimed to learn the entire Bible.

When the couple appeared in court, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, above, said the couple starved their children to the point that their growth was stunted, chaining them to their beds for months at a time and forbidding them from showering more than once a year or using the toilet.

The victimisation appeared to intensify over time. What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse

The couple were charged with torture, child abuse, dependent adult abuse and false imprisonment. David Turpin was also charged with performing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

The abuses created “a house of horrors” that apparently went unnoticed until Sunday, when a 17-year-old girl managed to escape and call the police.

The girl and her siblings had plotted the escape for two years, Hestrin said. Another girl who escaped out a window with the teen turned back out of fear.

When officers arrived at the Turpins’  house on Sunday in Perris, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, they were shocked by what they found.

The children’s malnutrition was so severe that it was consistent with muscle wasting and had led to cognitive impairment and nerve damage. The oldest child, a 29-year-old woman, weighed 82 pounds.

Some of the 13 children had been isolated so long they did not know what a police officer was.

The victims range in age from two to 29. The torture and false imprisonment charges do not include the two-year-old.

The charges date to 2010, when the couple moved to Riverside County from outside Fort Worth, Texas, where the abuse began, Hestrin said.

The creepily lookalike family when parents David and Louise renewed their vows in 2016. Source: Facebook.

The parents have been jailed on $9 million US dollars bail each. If convicted of all charges, they could be sentenced to life in prison.

The abuse began with the children being tied to beds with ropes and then hog-tied, Hestrin said. When one child was able to wriggle free, the couple began restraining them with chains and padlocks – for up to weeks or months at a time.

On Sunday, three children had been shackled to beds, though the parents freed two of them when officers knocked on the door, Hestrin said. Officers found a 22-year-old still chained to a bed.

Evidence of human waste on the floor indicated the children were prevented from using the toilet. Sheriff’s deputies said the stench in the house was overwhelming.

The children were also beaten and choked, Hestrin said.

While the children were deprived of food, the parents ate well and even taunted the children by letting them see apple and pumpkin pies they weren’t allowed to have, Hestrin said.

Similarly, the children were not allowed to play with toys, though they were found throughout the house – in their original packaging.

One of the only things the children were allowed to do was to write in their journals.

Hundreds of journals were found in the home. Hestrin said prosecutors expect the children’s writing to provide powerful evidence against the parents.

14 responses to “‘Good Christians’ in court over abuse of their 13 children”

  1. Brian Jordan says:

    Well, I suppose a Devil’s Advocate might ask “where’s the biblical call for such actions?” Perhaps for once the “religious” nutters are just plain nut cases.

  2. John the Drunkard says:

    They were photographed in public, and no one seemed to notice what was up. Did the abuse escalate to its current level?

    If they didn’t know what a policeman was, how could they know to call 911?

    All of this seems to imply that the abuse was even worse than we can guess.

  3. Farmer Giles says:

    We atheists should not crow about this. We cannot be sure that this abomination was primarily caused by the religion of the parents. One could argue that these two horrid people are so mentally deranged that they would have done this anyway and that their mental condition also made them susceptible to religious belief. Of course they could be cynically using christian faith as a cover to try and convince the stupefied masses that they, being godly, are fundamentally decent and therefore worthy of forgiviness and light sentences.

  4. barriejohn says:

    The Turpins were undoubtedly mentally disordered, but their Christian faith is part of the problem. His parents said that “they believed the Turpins had been called by God to have so many children, who were given ‘very strict’ homeschooling that included memorising long Bible passages.” They were definitely “devout Christians”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/turpin-family-latest-california-perris-aunt-children-elizabeth-flores-a8163501.html

  5. RussellW says:

    I’m rather sceptical in regard to the merits of home schooling. How often when administered by religiots, does it become something rather sinister?

    Memorizing the Bible? That’s not an education.

  6. Broga says:

    RussellW: I don’t understand how home schooling can benefit the pupil. How does a parent cover all the different subjects, where do they get the teaching skills and what about the social practices that a school provides?

  7. RussellW says:

    Broga,

    Yes, indeed. Particularly at year 12 secondary level.

    I’m just an old cynic, in my opinion, it’s more about about control than education.

  8. Robster says:

    Reckon if you were to see this mob of rather errr…strange people wandering about in a pack, same haircuts, same disordered attire , suspicions would be raised. Really.

  9. barriejohn says:

    This new twist on the story appears on many news sites this morning, but I think there may only be one original source:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5293397/House-Horrors-parents-wanted-children-TV-show.html

  10. Broga says:

    barriejohn: The seductive lure of TV fame. I read that whereas children in the rest of Europe want to be doctors, teachers, engineers etc there are far more in the UK who want to be sports stars and TV reality stars.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Or marry royalty! Sadly, this dream of instant fame and riches seems very real, but if those parents thought that that was possible for THEIR family, then they are more out of touch with reality than could have been imagined.

  12. Broga says:

    barriejohn: The concept of short term hedonism is interesting and, to me, reassuring. The lottery winner soon discovers that they are not as idyllically happy as they expected. I read, although personally I find it hard to believe, that even severely disabled young motor cyclists often say that they feel much as they did before they could no longer walk.

    The addiction problems of some major film and sports stars seem to indicate that all the wealth and all the fame isn’t enough. My own view is that learning to control how you think is most important.

  13. Stephen Mynett says:

    Sickening but not surprising, the Wests got away with something worse for years and were twice investigated and cleared by Gloucester Social Services.

    A question here about home schooling is why are there not more checks. It would seem obvious that even if home schooling is allowed there should be regular independent checks to see if the children are receiving a decent education. If that had happened there would have been a good chance of this tragedy being noticed some time ago.