Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Parents charged with child abuse, torture

The Anaheim Hills couple is accused of abusing their 15-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son by binding their wrists and ankles, authorities say.
By DENISSE SALAZAR, LARRY WELBORN, SONYA SMITH and JEBB HARRIS
The Orange County Register
Comments 38 | Recommend 12
FULLERTON – An Anaheim Hills couple appeared in court Thursday in a case of child abuse that one prosecutor said was one of the worst she'd seen.

Kimberly Joy Quebe, 48, and John Herman Quebe, 47, are charged with abusing their two children by binding their wrists and ankles and leaving them tied up for hours at a time.

Following their arraignment at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, Deputy District Attorney Christine Simmons said: “In all my years as a prosecutor, I've never seen anything even close to this. The children are nowhere near age-appropriate; they act younger, and they are very pale.”

Susan Schroeder, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, said later that though the case is not the county's worst, “It breaks your heart.” Referring to the son, she added, “That's the only life he remembers.”
The couple, married for 21 years, have lived in Anaheim Hills for six years with their daughter, 15, and son, 11.
On July 18, the Orange County Social Services Agency received an after-hours call reporting the children had been at a community pool a week earlier and had restraint marks and bruising on their wrists and ankles. Anaheim police went to the Quebes’ home that night after being contacted by Social Services but were unable to talk to anyone.
Three days later, Anaheim police returned to the home and discovered the children had dark binding marks and scarring on their wrists and ankles, the District Attorney’s Office said. Both children were taken into protective custody by Social Services.
The Quebes are each charged with: 62 felonies for 21 counts of false imprisonment by violence; 21 counts of child abuse; 18 counts of corporal injury on a child with great bodily injury; and two counts of torture.
If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Thursday’s hearing was continued until Aug. 22. The Quebes are at Orange County Jail on $1 million bail each.
The couple are accused of physically and verbally abusing their children for six years by binding their wrists and ankles using tights to punish the children for minor issues, the District Attorney’s Office said. They are accused of leaving the children bound overnight and leaving them to sleep on the floor.
The Quebes are accused of frequently verbally assaulting the children by screaming obscenities and calling them degrading names, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The Quebes are also accused of refusing to allow other family members to see the children, not sending the children to school under the false pretense of providing home schooling, and rarely allowing them to leave the house.
A neighbor of the Quebes, Joan Hoesterey, said Thursday that she and other neighbors were worried about the Quebe children since the family moved in six years ago.
"You could often hear the mom screaming horrible obscenities at the kids," Hoesterey said. "Since they moved in, it’s just been constant."
Hoesterey said the Quebe children were rarely seen outside the home.
Hoesterey also said her neighbors called police on at least one occasion about yelling coming from the Quebes’ house.
Anaheim Police Sergeant Rick Martinez said he had a record of one call about the Quebe home in the last 2.61/2 years, the furthest he can look at past records. Martinez said that on Sept. 5, 2007, officers responded to a call about a female reportedly yelling at her children using foul language.
"When the officers left, everything appeared OK," he said.
Anyone with information can contact Carol Mona, supervising district attorney investigator, at 714-347-8627.