The 13 victims were discovered last year in a “care” home that was full of dog feces. They were found malnourished, beaten, and forced into manual labor, prosecutors say.
Kathy Le, 42, pleaded no contest to the felony charges last week, bringing an end to the criminal case against the family. The family members pleaded to dependent abuse felonies, resisting arrest, and animal neglect charges, due to the pack of dogs that lived in the house.
Police found the residents neglected and forced to stay locked in their rooms. According to court documents, they were denied toilet paper and regular bathing.
The house was raided by police in May 2012 after receiving complaints that the residents were being neglected. Approximately 30 dogs were also found in the home and taken away by animal control.
The victims told police their Social Security checks were being taken by the defendants and that their clothes were only washed once a month. The residents of the home suffered from schizophrenia and other severe disorders.
Following the raid, some of the residents were hospitalized and prosecutors say Le posed as one victim’s niece to get custody and return the victim to the home. The victims remained living in squalor for about a month before police returned for a second raid when they found an additional 21 dogs in the home.
All of the victims have since been moved to licensed care facilities or back with their families.
The defendants, 63-year-old Jennifer Ngo, 25-year-old Charles Nguyen, and Le face up to four years apiece in state prison when they are sentenced. A fourth family member, 27-year-old Margaret Ngo, was sentenced last year to time served after spending a year in Santa Clara County Jail. Defendant George Nguyen died in custody late last year.
“For years, they irresponsibly, dangerously subjected vulnerable victims to substandard human conditions,” Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang said. “Now they must all take responsibility and be held accountable by the court.”