In March, 2013, Chad Chritton, a 42-year-old father from Madison, Wis., was convicted of felony child neglect after being accused of starving and torturing his teenage daughter.
On Jan. 29 in a Dane County courtroom, the father that starved his then 15-year-old daughter down to 68 pounds was sentenced to five years behind bars, according to The Washington Post.
Prior to his sentencing by judge Julie Genovese, Chritton read a statement in which he confessed that he just couldn't handle the problems posed by his daughter’s “severe emotional and behavioral problems;” and that because his truck driving job kept away from home for long periods – he simply didn't notice that his daughter had gotten dangerously thin.
“There was no master plan against my daughter,” the man said, his voice breaking at times. “I was bailing water from a sinking boat with my bare hands.”
Chritton's wife, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, the stepmother to the teen girl, was also part of the neglect and abuse aimed toward the daughter. The stepmother “was sentenced in April to five years in prison in the same case after pleading no contest to first-degree recklessly endangering safety and causing mental harm to a child,” according to Channel 3000.
The girl, who testified against her father during the original trial, told investigators she spent most of five years confined in the basement of her family's Madison home, where she said she was beaten, sexually assaulted and denied food - despite begging to be allowed to eat.
The teen girl had also accused her stepbrother of sexually assaulting her.
FOX News reported back in March that the girl testified in court that her stepbrother repeatedly forced her to perform oral sex on him.
The barefoot and lightly dressed daughter escaped from her family home on Feb. 6, 2012 when she was found wandering in the street by a Good Samaritan who called the police on her behalf.
“They made me feel like I was dehumanized a lot,” the girl said in a letter to the judge.
“It’s all thanks to my stupid dad and stepmom for not giving me an education and keeping me locked up for most of my life and making me feel like I was in a scary spot in my life.”
The girl, who was 16-years-old last March, told police that her abuse at home began when she turned 10-years-old.
At the father’s sentencing yesterday, the judge admitted that the daughter had emotional problems, and was failed by “everyone who encountered her.” Judge Genovese then held Chritton accountable for his inactions as a father.
“It’s your turn to accept your part in this.”
“What I think you did was put your head in the sand. It’s your job as a dad to see it and you didn’t. Really, the buck stops with you,” the judge said.
Judge Genovese believed that Chritton and his wife were both sentenced fairly and that the parents both deserved the same sentence. “Together they stole five years of the girl’s life,” according to Genovese.
For more on the original abuse accusations against Chad Chritton and Melinda Drabek-Chritton, see the video accompanying this article.
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