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(KDKA) – The Pennsylvania attorney general announced criminal charges against a Clarion County man and woman who allegedly punished their adopted daughter by locking her in a closet.
The investigation revealed Samantha Ferguson, 26, allegedly punished one of her adopted daughters by keeping her in a utility closet with exposed electrical wires, piping and other hardware.
Joseph Ferguson, 35, admitted to being aware of the details of the punishments and agreed to and witnessed it, according to a release from the attorney general’s office.
The young girl is diagnosed with ADHD, but the Fergusons had taken her off her medication due to religious beliefs.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged the couple with for endangering the welfare of a child, false imprisonment, and other related charges.
“There are consequences for failing to protect children in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “Our agents and attorneys work tirelessly to investigate every single lead that comes to our office, and when we received this referral we acted quickly. My office is focused on defending the defenseless, and will continue to hold child abusers accountable.”
Shapiro said that Samantha handcuffed and/or duct-taped the girl’s hands together every time she was sent to the closet. In another instance, when the victim yelled out in pain and to be released from the handcuffs and tape put on her wrists, the defendant placed duct tape over the victim’s mouth to keep her quiet. It is alleged that Samantha also cuffed her daughter to the bedpost as a form of punishment, only lettering her out to be fed depending on the time of day.
The victim and her sister, who was also adopted by the Fergusons, were undergoing trauma therapy for sexual and physical abuse in their prior home. Both girls are currently in custody of Children & Youth Services.