The grandmother of 10 children who were found living in squalid conditions in a North California home has spoken out, claiming that her grandkids had “lived in torture” and accusing their father of worshipping Satan.
Wanda Rogers, the maternal grandmother of the children, told NBC News that the children had told her stories of abuse.
“Every day, they lived in torture … every day, all day long,” Wanda said.
The police first encountered the children on March 31 when their mother Ina Rogers reported her 12-year-old son missing. He was later found asleep in a bush in a neighbour’s yard.
Responding officers then searched the home due to concerns about the child’s welfare and found nine more children between the ages of 4 months and 11 years old living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, reported SFGate.
Ina was arrested that night and charged with child endangerment. She was released after posting $10,000 bail.
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Police then opened an investigation and interviewed the children. According to court documents, the children had told the police they were punched, strangled, and shot with weapons such as crossbows and BB guns, as well as waterboarded.
“The children described incidents of intentional abuse resulting in puncture wounds, burns, bruising, injuries consistent with being shot with a pellet gun or a BB gun,” Lt. Greg Hurlbut told a police conference on Monday, May 14, reported NBC News.
The children’s father Jonathan Allen was arrested on Friday, May 11, and is suspected of abusing his children. Allen was jailed on seven counts of torture as well as nine counts of child abuse and is being held on $5.2 million bail. He is due to make another court appearance on May 24.
Ina was charged with an additional nine felony counts of child abuse on Tuesday, May 15, according to the news station. The court documents alleged Ina not only knew about the abuse, but also assisted in the acts. She is scheduled to make a court appearance on May 16.
The children were subsequently removed from the home and are currently living with other family members.
Police alleged that some of the abuse was done for a “sadistic purpose,” according to the news station.
Wanda has accused the father of worshipping the devil, saying that he even had a “devil room.”
“Jonathan worships the devil. He had a devil room, a devil room that he called a meditation room,” she told NBC news.
Allen has denied the accusations of devil worshipping and torturing his children.
“I live a very spiritual life — not in the sense that I believe in like offerings and like doing torturous things to kids, and these like satanic things that they’re trying to say that I do. That’s not what I do,” he said, reported NBC.
Ina also defended her husband: “My husband has a lot of tattoos. He looks like a scary individual, and that’s why people are so quick to judge him. But my husband is an amazing person. I am an amazing mother,” she told reporters in front of her house on Monday, May 14, reported ABC7.
Both parents have pleaded not guilty and their trials are pending.
This case comes after another high-profile story where 13 children were found living in squalid conditions, with some of the children restrained with heavy chains and padlocks in a Californian home. David Turpin and his wife Louise were arrested on Jan. 14 and charged with torture, child abuse, unlawful imprisonment, as well as other crimes. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.