FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A California woman whose 10 children were removed from a home described as filthy by authorities denied that she or her husband had abused or neglected the kids, telling reporters on Monday that the children all slept in one bedroom together because they wanted to.
Ina Rogers, 30, said she feels she’s being judged for having so many children and choosing to home-school them.
She said she is surprised police have leveled the most serious accusations against her husband Jonathan Allen, as he was not the disciplinarian of the family.
Fairfield police arrested Allen, 29, on Friday and he faces felony charges of torture and abuse.
The children are 4 months to 12 years old.
“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.”
Fairfield police removed the children from the house March 31 after Rogers reported her oldest child was missing, saying he had run away after she took away his tablet computer as punishment.
Fairfield police Lt. Greg Hurlbut said when police returned the child, they found nine other children living in “squalid and unsafe conditions.”
They removed the children and Rogers was arrested. She was released after posting $10,000 bail on April 9.
On Monday, she led reporters on a tour of the four-bedroom house in Fairfield, 46 miles (74 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
The home was messy with scuffed walls and animal feces in the bathroom. She said the children slept on cots in one bedroom because they were close. The other rooms contained a master bedroom, playroom and meditation room.
On the day the children were removed, the house was messy because she’d just torn it apart looking for her missing son, she said.
She and her husband both came from broken homes and they wanted a large family, she said.
Child protection officials made one prior visit to the home several years ago, Rogers said. She did not say why.
Allen was arrested after specialists conducted interviews with the children, Hurlbut said. He was being held in Solano County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bail.
Court records do not indicate whether the parents have lawyers.
Aleida Quartman, 23, said she was a co-worker of Rogers’ at a heart device monitoring company. She said Rogers spoiled her children and the messy house was just life with children, cats, a dog and fish.
“She told me she’s never lived alone and now that her kids are gone and her husband is gone, she’s just a mess,” Quartman said.
A horrified Peggy Allen, 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 she is estranged from her son and that he has kept his family away from the grandchildren.
“It’s embarrassing,” she said. “We’re a Christian family and Jonathan has not been raised that way.”
In a separate case, prosecutors in Riverside County, have filed eight new charges against a father accused of shackling and starving some of his 13 children, alleging that he lied on government forms about their schooling.
David Turpin and his wife Louise previously pleaded not guilty to torture, child abuse and other charges in a case that has drawn international attention since the couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped the family’s Perris, California, home in January and called 911.