An Oklahoma couple is behind bars today after police discovered they were locking the woman’s four-year-old son in a dog crate for up to 14 hours a day.
Suzanne Satterfield, 33, and Johnathon Lee, 31, have both been charged with child abuse. Lee faces an additional sexual abuse charge after police discovered he may have sexually abused a 14-year-old girl who also lives in the home.
During their investigation, Lee confessed to police that he routinely locked his stepson in the cage over at least a three week period. He tried to rationalize his behavior by saying it was for the boy’s safety. But the Rogers County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Department discovered otherwise.
Their investigation revealed the child would be locked in the cage to sleep at night, to take naps during the day, and to be punished when he did something wrong. All together, they estimate he may have spent up to 14 hours a day in the cage.
"14 hours is a very, very long period of time," Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said. "In this situation, 30 minutes is too long. We don't keep kids in cages."
Lee also admitted to using wire ties to tie the boy to the crate. When the child figured out how to kick the cage’s door open, Lee put a padlock on it.
“I personally have a five-year-old grandson, and I can't imagine him being put into a cage like this for any period of time,” Sheriff Walton remarked.
All three children from the house, ages four, seven, and 14, are now in state custody.
Satterfield is being held on $100,000 bond, while Lee’s bond is set at $50,000.