Parents charged in Detroit “Basement” Case
Prosecutors on Friday brought torture and child abuse charges against the father and stepmother of a 12-year-old Detroit boy who was found in his father’s basement last year after an 11-day disappearance.
The Wayne County prosecutor’s said Charlie Bothuell IV and Monique Dillard-Bothuell systematically physically abused the child, forced him to live in the basement and didn’t allow him to socialize.
In a statement, prosecutors said the boy, Charlie Bothuell V, was deprived of food and forced to engage in an “extreme and unreasonable exercise regime.” The father and stepmother earlier denied any abuse took place.
The state Department of Human Services has said the father acknowledged striking his son with a PVC pipe, and said in a court filing last year that the boy told authorities he was forced to rise before dawn for intense workouts of 100 pushups and even more situps.
Detroit police arrested the Bothuells on Friday morning, the prosecutor’s office said. They have each been charged with one count of torture, punishable by up to life in prison, and second-degree child abuse, which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
“We are thankful that the victim was found alive,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said. “This is the first time that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has charged torture for a living child. Based upon the allegations, if any case warrants child torture charges, this one certainly does.”
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with a lawyer who represented Charlie Bothuell IV in a custody case where Michigan has been seeking to terminate the couple’s rights to two other children and the father’s rights to Charlie Bothuell V.
They’re due in court on Friday morning.