The Edmond Sun

July 8, 2013

Authorities: Logan Co. pair handcuffed child to punish

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Prosecutors are considering charges recommended against Logan County parents accused of using handcuffs to control a child, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

Logan County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Richard Stephens said on June 24 the agency received a call for service at 3321 N. Midwest Blvd. Stephens said the reporting party advised a child may have been handcuffed by parents in the home.

Deputies arrived and located a residence where there were five children in the home being supervised by a 16-year-old sibling, Stephens said. The parents were at work, he said.

One of the children, a 7-year old boy, had been having some behavioral issues both at school and at home with theft and taking food, Stephens said.

The child was a victim of a prior abusive household, and is living in the home with his mother, Stephens said. His mother and the other parent chose to restrain the child with handcuffs as a means to control the child, Stephens said.

Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigators and a Department of Human Services Child Welfare case worker responded to the scene as well, Stephens said. DHS initiated an investigation and has made a placement in this case, Stephens said.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigation has concluded, and charges were presented to the district attorney Monday morning against Thomas Robert Obrien, 37, and Tonya Geneice Bengtson, 36, Stephens said. As of the early afternoon, the suspects had not yet been arrested, he said.

Stephens said the charges presented are child neglect. Under state law, if convicted, any parent or other person who shall willfully or maliciously engage in child neglect shall be punished by up to life in prison, by imprisonment in a county jail up to one year or by a $500-$5,000 fine or both prison and a fine.

Under the law, “neglect” means the failure or omission to provide any of the following: Adequate nutrition and affection, food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, hygiene, or appropriate education, medical, dental or behavioral health care, supervision or appropriate caretakers or special care made necessary by the physical or mental condition of the child.

Stephens said the case is the result of an extensive investigation. | 341-2121, ext. 108