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Father accused of abusing 13 children faces new charges

David Turpin is accused of eight counts of perjury for lying about properly schooling his six minor children, prosecutors say.
by Dennis Romero /
Image: David Allen Turpin talks with his attorney David Macher as he makes a court appearance in Riverside, California
David Turpin, right, talks with his attorney David Macher in Riverside, California, on Friday. Frederick M. Brown / Pool via Reuters

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LOS ANGELES — A man accused of shackling and abusing his 13 children, ranging in age from 2 to 29, was charged with additional crimes Friday in State Superior Court in Riverside.

The eight new felony perjury counts against David Turpin, 57, allege that he lied about properly schooling his six minor children, who were kept out of public classrooms, prosecutors said.

"Turpin filed a private school affidavit with the California Department of Education for the years 2010 to 2017, on which he certified under penalty of perjury that the children in the Turpin home were receiving a full-time education in a private day school," John Hall of the Riverside County district attorney's office said via email.

Prosecutors say that instead, the children were subject to starvation, torture, endangerment and imprisonment at their home in Perris, California.

The new counts are in addition to charges of torture and child endangerment against Turpin and his wife, Louise Turpin, 49. David Turpin is also accused of committing lewd acts against a child younger than 14.

Each parent was jailed in lieu of $12 million bail. A public defender for David Turpin had no comment Friday. The couple have already pleaded not guilty to the original charges, filed after the offspring were found bound, shackled and malnourished on Jan. 14.

Authorities said they learned of the children's plight that day after a 17-year-old escaped from the family's home, called 911 on a cellphone and led authorities to her 12 siblings, held captive inside.

Evidence of starvation was obvious, the authorities said. The 17-year-old appeared to be only 10 and slightly emaciated, they said, and the 29-year-old weighed only 82 pounds.

David Turpin is scheduled to enter a plea to the perjury charges on May 18. A preliminary hearing for the couple is scheduled for May 20.

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