Mother reported daughter's adopted family over abuse FOUR YEARS before they locked her in the basement for a month for 'discipli
Mother reported daughter's adopted family over abuse FOUR YEARS before they locked her in the basement for a month for 'discipline'
Mother June Simpson said authorities did nothing
Paul and JoAnn Drake charged with abuse and false imprisonment in Iowa
Couple told police 13-year-old girl and boy, 14, had 'behavioral problems'
Food pushed under the locked door for children while their siblings slept upstairs
By LOUISE BOYLE
PUBLISHED: 21:17 EST, 9 November 2012 | UPDATED: 23:42 EST, 9 November 2012
The biological mother of a girl who was allegeldy imprisoned in a basement for one month says her daughter was just the latest victim in a long pattern of abuse by the adoptive parents.
June Simpson, 36, of Truro said Thursday that her daughter, Savannah, told Simpson and others four years ago that adoptive mother JoAnn Drake had physically abused her.
Savannah, then 9, was living as a foster child in the Drake home.
A judge was among those the girl told about the alleged abuse, Simpson said.
Paul Alan Drake, 45, and his wife JoAnn Marie, 44, were charged on Wednesday with child abuse and false imprisonment.
The couple allegedly only allowed the children out of the basement to go to school in Ankeny, Iowa.
Police reported it was the couple's way of disciplining Savannah, 13, and an unnamed boy, 14.
Simpson claims that Savannah described physical abuse, including being pushed down a flight of stairs and not being allowed to eat her dinner, before she was adopted by the Drakes.
'No one really took it very seriously. Everyone said, well these are very serious accusations, we’ll look into this but they really didn’t,' Simpson told the Des Moines Register. 'They brushed it off like me and Savannah were trying to come up with accusations just to get her home.'
Simpson said her and her ex-husband’s parental rights were terminated while the couple was going through a bitter divorce.
She said her youngest son Adem, now 5, also was adopted by Paul and JoAnn Drake.
She does not know the name of the Drakes’ 14-year-old son, who allegedly was also imprisoned with Savannah.
Paul Drake hung up on a reporter who called him Thursday; he did not respond to a subsequent text message for comment.
Simpson, convicted of assault in 2008, said she now understands that the environment she provided was not healthy for children.
She and her now ex-husband regularly fought and she used alcohol to treat her severe depression.
But, Simpson said, neither she nor her ex-husband ever harmed their children.
Simpson claims that when she heard about the abuse she went to far as to contact the police, the DHS and an attorney.
'We made our bad choices, but we never put our children in danger,' Simpson said. '(DHS) took our children out and put them in a situation where they were actually being abused. It’s just unbelievable to me.'
Ankeny police chief Gary Mikulec told MailOnline via email that when the children arrived home from school, they were required to go down into the basement. Their parents would push breakfast and dinner under the locked door.
Paul and JoAnn Drake told authorities that the children needed discipline due to behavior problems.
The abuse came to light in September after one of the children told a school employee and the Department of Human Services was informed.
The boy and girl were removed from the home on October 5 as police investigated.
It is unclear when the two children, who cannot be identified, were adopted or how long they lived at the suburban home.
There were three other children in the house, authorities said, but they did not suffer a similar treatment.
After being charged, the couple were released from Polk County Jail on bail. A trial date has not been set but they face up to ten years in prison.
Calls to the Drake home by MailOnline were not returned.
The Drakes were married in June 1989, according to Facebook, where Paul lists 'Devotional Christian' and I'm a CHRISTIAN & PROUD' among his interests.