The Wisconsin father who dealt with his problematic 15-year-old girl by keeping her in the basement and starving her to 68 pounds was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison. “Before being sentenced by Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese, the 42-year-old man read a statement insisting his daughter suffered from severe emotional and behavioral problems that he couldn't handle, that his job as a trucker kept him away from home and that he didn't notice how thin she had become,” reported the Associated Press via ABC News on Jan. 30, 2014.
In addition to sentencing the Wisconsin dad to five years in prison for having starved his troubled 15-year-old daughter, Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese told the 42-year-old man that even though it was clear that the girl was troubled and had problems, it would have been his job as a father to take action.
"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," said Judge Genovese.
The case of the 15-year-old girl came to the attention of investigators in February of 2012, after she had run away from her home in Madison in Wisconsin and was picked up by a passing motorist.
According to the girl’s account, she had spent the past five years having been confined without sufficient food to a basement in her home, that her stepmother had beaten her, that her stepbrother had repeatedly forced her to perform oral sex on him, and that she was forced to eat her feces and drink her own urine.
In a letter to Judge Genovese, the teen described her experience as degrading. "They made me feel like I was dehumanized a lot. 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."
Last summer, Judge Genovese had sentenced the stepmother to five years in prison after she pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment and causing mental harm to a child. Next month, the stepbrother is scheduled to stand trial on sexual assault charges.
The dad who was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison for having starved his daughter had already gone through two previous trials. In March, jurors deadlocked on some charges. During the follow-up trial in November, the troubled teen’s father was convicted of child neglect, child abuse, reckless endangerment, and causing mental harm to a child, all felonies. He was acquitted of false imprisonment and misdemeanor neglect.
Before being sentenced to five years in prison, the dad who dealt with his troubled teen daughter by starving her testified that while living in Texas, his daughter’s stepfather had sexually assaulted her. After she came to live with him in Wisconsin, she refused to eat and threatened to kill the family in their sleep. He also testified that a psychologist had suggested that the troubled teen “live on a different level than the rest of the family.”
“Social workers made several visits to the home, but he couldn't follow up on her care because he was always on the road. He said social workers should have removed her from the home.”