A Pennsylvania judge’s decision to jail a mother and her parents for torturing her young son was met with applause in the courtroom.
District Judge Brian Arthur ruled that 28-year-old Mary Rader, her mother Deana Beighley, 48, and her father Dennis Beighley, 58, would be sent to jail and each have their bail set at $100,000. All three will also have to stand trial.
Details of the case are disturbing, as police say that the eight-year-old boy, who was seven when caseworkers first discovered him in grave condition, weighed only 25 pounds because his mother and grandparents starved him. He was reportedly given so little food that he was forced to eat bugs to survive.
“The young man is so emaciated he looks like a Holocaust survivor,” said a doctor who treated him, adding that the boy was barely a month away from dying.
Rader and her parents all claim that the young boy has a growth hormone problem and maintain that they didn’t starve him intentionally.
“I think there's no question what happened here was a tragedy, but the question is who's responsible for it and whether it's a criminal offense,” said Jack Cline, Rader’s attorney.
The boy reportedly told caseworkers that he was treated well and actually ate three meals a day, but District Attorney Robert Kochems said the boy likely didn’t realize he was being tortured.
“He doesn't know that they're trying to kill him,” said Kochems. “We do.”
Rader’s three other children are also reportedly in foster care along with the emaciated boy.