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April 20, 2007

Religious childcare: a primer

by Feòrag

United Kingdom: Two recent court cases involving allegations of child abuse have a certain similarity. First up is Eunice Spry, a foster mother who has just been sent down for 14 years. The court heard that she routinely beat, abused and starved children over a 19-year period, sometimes forcing sticks down their throats or making them eat their own vomit or rat excrement.

During the trial, the three victims, known as A, B and C, all gave evidence describing how their daily routines were punctuated by random acts of bizarre and sadistic violence...

Victim B, also now 21, told how her foster mother would pull her hair and shove her face in her pet dog's faeces as punishment.

Victim C, now 18, described how his foster mother held his hand down on a hot electric hob until it was left looking like a gooey mess. He said he had been force-fed so much washing-up liquid by Spry that he could now differentiate between the brands on taste alone.

The children were made to eat lard and if they were sick, would be forced to eat what they had thrown up.

The relevance? Spry is a devout Jehovah's Witness though, to the credit of that organisation, it was another member who secretly confronted victim A about marks to her head, caused when Spry rubbed sandpaper over her face, and so exposed the abuse.

A similar case is being heard at Canterbury Crown Court. Two Mormon women are accused of torturing six young children by forcing them to eat red-hot chillies and whipping them with nettles. The prosecution presented a detailed description of the alleged abuse, which they claim went on for nine years:

The children were woken at 5am every day, made to say prayers and read scripture, before doing hours of housework. If they did not do their chores quickly enough and to a high standard, they were punished.

The cruelty amounted to physical harm, punishing these children even when they were very young, he said. The physical abuse included striking and slapping, administering chilli powder and chopped chillies, using rolling pins and spoons to strike them, making them eat on the floor, making them eat raw eggs and striking them with stinging nettles.

The eldest, a boy now aged 13, was gagged when he was naughty and bundled into a sheet to be restrained while he was beaten, the court was told. The women were also said to have placed him between them and punched him to each other like a football. They would also pick him up and throw him across the room...

She said she was a member of the church and had strict principles to teach the children how to work and be obedient.

'Sadistic' foster mother jailed for 14 yearsThe Guardian, 19th April 2007; Mormon women 'tortured children to instil discipline'The Times, April 2007.

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Posted in Hypocrisy at 12:22. Last modified on April 20 2007 at 12:38.
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