FAIRFIELD, Calif. — Children removed from a squalid California home described acts of intentional abuse that resulted in puncture wounds, burns, bruising and injuries consistent with being shot with a pellet gun, authorities said Monday.
Sharon Henry, chief deputy district attorney for Solano County, said she was "horrified" by the statements from the children.
She said at a news conference that "torture occurred in this house" and that it was carried out "for sadistic purposes." She declined to elaborate.
"It literally breaks your heart, and you're outraged by how a parent or anyone could commit those acts," Henry said afterward.
Jonathan Allen, 28, the children's father, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of torture and nine counts of felony child abuse. He was being held on $5.2 million bail.
Police in Fairfield, about halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco, had said that the 10 children, who are ages 4 months to 12 years, were removed from their home on March 31 after their mother, Ina Rogers, 30, reported that her oldest child was missing.
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Police found filthy conditions in the home shared by Rogers and Allen, police Lt. Greg Hurlbut said.
"Officers located unsafe and unsanitary living conditions including garbage and spoiled food on the floor, animal and human feces and a large amount of debris making areas of the house unpassable," he said.
Rogers was arrested and released after posting $10,000 bail on April 9. She gave reporters a tour of her house on Monday, denying that her husband had abused the children.
She said she felt that she was being judged for having had so many children and having chosen to home-school them.
The children didn't need medical attention when they were removed. But authorities said that stories about abuse came out gradually over the past six weeks and that eight of the children told professionals about incidents dating back several years.
Rogers told reporters that was surprised that police had leveled the most serious accusations against her husband, as he wasn't the disciplinarian of the family.
"There's no broken bones. There is no major scars, nothing," Rogers told reporters in front of her house. "My kids get bumped and bruised and scratched because they're kids, but that's it."
During the tour, the four-bedroom house in Fairfield was messy, with scuffed walls and animal feces in the bathroom.
Rogers said the children slept on cots in one bedroom because they were close. The other rooms were used as a master bedroom, a playroom and a meditation room.
On the day the children were removed, the house was messy because she had just torn it apart looking for her missing son, who was angry because his parents had taken away his tablet computer, Rogers said.
She and her husband both came from broken homes, and they wanted a large family, she said.
Child protection officials visited the home several years ago, Rogers said. She didn't say why.
Court records don't indicate whether the parents have lawyers.
Peggy Allen, Jonathan Allen's mother, said she had talked to Rogers about the dirty condition of the home, saying it was important to keep a clean house. Allen said that she was estranged from her son and that he had kept his family away from the children.
"We're a Christian family, and Jonathan has not been raised that way," she said.