Pastor and wife lock kids in bathroom for days and whip them, Oklahoma police say

A pastor and his wife are accused of locking their kids in a bathroom for days without food or water and beating them up to 40 times at once, Oklahoma police said.

The pastor has been charged with child abuse, kidnapping and child neglect, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Blackwell Police Department filed Jan. 18. His wife has been charged with enabling child abuse, kidnapping and child neglect.

The couple had custody of eight children ranging in age from 2 to 17, police said. McClatchy News is not identifying the couple to protect the identities of the children.

On Jan. 14, child welfare workers received a report of a video and photos indicating the couple may be abusing their kids, according to the affidavit.

When the welfare workers reached the family at their home two days later, they asked to speak to one of the girls alone. She showed investigators the bruises covering her arms and legs and brought out the wooden board that she said the man used to beat the children, police said.

Police arrested the couple and charged them with child abuse by injury, and the eight children were put into protective custody.

In subsequent interviews, the children told authorities about frequent beatings and whippings at their home, with one daughter getting beaten nearly every day, police wrote in the affidavit.

The teens also described an incident in which the couple locked one of the girls in the bathroom for three days without food or water because “someone at their church said that she said they were bad parents,” according to the affidavit

One teen said she “feared” the couple, police said.

In another incident, children said the pastor beat one of the girls approximately 40 times after his wife couldn’t find her makeup and accused the girl of stealing it.

When investigators interviewed the couple, they both said their children were trustworthy but denied the extent of such beatings.

The woman said she once had to stop her husband from spanking one of the girls after he hit her 16 times, according to police. She said he could have been beating the kids when she wasn’t there, according to the affidavit.

The pastor acknowledged hitting the kids with the board but said he never left bruises, according to police. He didn’t know why one of his kids would have a black eye and bruises on her arms and legs, investigators said.

“(He) said that it is possible that he hits the kids so much that he doesn’t remember each incident,” police wrote in the report. “He also said that it is possible that when he spanks them, he ‘blacks out,’ and doesn’t know how many (times) or how hard he hits them.”

The man identified himself as a pastor at a local church, the Kay County News Cow reported. That church said he is not the lead pastor and said it doesn’t condone child abuse.

McClatchy News could not immediately locate attorney information for the couple.

Blackwell is about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City.

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