PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted.
The 32-year-old mother pleaded guilty in Scioto County to two counts of rape and was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison as part of a plea agreement. Her 45-year-old boyfriend, who pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of child endangering, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
A grandmother also is charged. The Portsmouth Daily Times said she rejected plea offers and is scheduled for trial next week.
The case, in the Ohio River town of Wheelersburg, attracted national attention when the children were rescued in February 2014.
The three children described the adults tying them to their beds for weeks, beating their naked bodies with belts and paddles and keeping food from them until one of them emailed a teacher at her online school. The girl, part of the Toledo-based Ohio Virtual Academy, asked the teacher to call 911 because she and her siblings were being "tied to the beds and beat," authorities said.
The adults had been indicted on three counts each of child endangerment. The boyfriend also was charged with raping two of the children, girls ages 9 and 11.
Investigators said one of the adults admitted tying up the girls and their brother, who was 8, as punishment "because they were stealing food." Deputies said they found locks on the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards in the family's home.
"They tied these children up and refused to feed them, and when they found out they could get out of the ropes, they changed to chains — dog chains — and chained them to the bed," prosecutor Pat Apel said in court Wednesday.
The mother and her boyfriend risked life prison sentences without the possibility of parole if they had been convicted at trial next week.
The Associated Press is not naming the adults to protect the children's identities.