Alleged Peoria abuse victim likened to 'concentration camp survivor'
By Steve Stout
PEORIA, AZ (CBS5) -
A Peoria couple face felony child abuse charges after two of their adoptive daughters outlined a pattern of ongoing physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their parents that began five years ago as an attempt, the mother said, to "train" the girls to be "loving and nurturing."
Johann Glenn Jorg, 61, and his wife, Kimery Lynn Jorg, 53, were arrested Thursday afternoon at their home in the area of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Freeway and Bell Road in Peoria. Each face four charges of felony intentional child abuse with intent, according to a police statement.
The Jorgs are the adoptive parents of four girls, ages 7, 8, 11 and 13 years old.
The 11- and 13-year-olds were found by police to be severely malnourished and emaciated, according to the statement.
The 13-year-old was hospitalized May 30 and in a condition likened to a "concentration camp survivor." She was severely malnourished and medical personnel were wary of re-feeding syndrome, a dangerous condition when a malnourished person begins to receive proper nutrition, according to the statement. She remained in the hospital Friday morning.
The girl also had abnormal growths on her legs, severe "leathering of the skin on her buttocks due to repeated beatings, and calloused and blistered feet consistent with running on the pavement barefoot, according to the statement.
The 13- and 11-year-old girls told police they were forced to run several hours a day, were spanked several times a day with a wooden paddle, and forced to memorize, recite and repeatedly write Bible verses without any mistakes or suffer further punishment, according to an investigating officer's statement. The oldest was also forced to live in the backyard nude with only a bucket to use as a bathroom, according to the statement.
According to Child Protective Services, all potential foster parents are required to complete 30-hours of training including lessons on appropriate and acceptable discipline techniques. CPS Spokeswoman Jennifer Bowser said these were lessons the Jorgs should have completed and understood as former foster parents.
Neither parent denied punishing the two for lying and stealing, and acknowledged that Kimery Jorg doled out most of the punishment because she was home with the children and that Johann Jorg spanked the children with the wooden paddle and recently shaved the head of the 13-year-old, according to the statement.
The parents admitted the girls were often spanked several times a day over their clothes.
Neither parent was able to describe to police actual instances of the girls stealing anything, though Kimery Jorg said a single Mentos breath mint was missing during a trip to Colorado and that 22 items from a relative's house were stolen during the trip, though she could not detail any of the items.
The parents said they often "suspected" the children were stealing, and the 13-year-old said she once was caught taking food because she was hungry.
The 13-year-old also said she was forced to eat "prison food" consisting of oatmeal for breakfast, prunes and crackers for lunch and grits with salsa for dinner, according to the report.
They said the two younger girls were favored by their parents and not punished, according to the statement.
All four girls were home-schooled and all had previously been removed from other abusive environments before they were placed in foster care with the Jorgs, according to the statement.
Southwest Behavioral Health Services, which has been providing services to the four girls since their adoptions, initially alerted Arizona Child Protective Services on May 21 with a request to help with deal with the 13-year-old girl, who was described as "devious" and "defiant," and who did nothing but steal and lie, according to the statement.
On May 30, a CPS worker notified Peoria police to investigate the possible abuse. CPS said it had been trying to contact the family since May 21, and finally spoke with Kimery Jorg by phone on May 30. They said Kimery Jorg requested the agency "set an appointment" to come to the house.
CPS arrived immediately and contacted police, according to the statement.
They found the 13- and 11-year-old children extremely malnourished and emaciated while the two younger children appeared "clearly favored" by the parents, according to the statement.
CPS removed all the children from the home and took them to Childhelp for interviews and medical exams.
The 13-year-old was found to be the most malnourished and stood 4'10 1/2" tall and weighed just 61 pounds, below the 5th percentile and not registering on standard pediatric charts, according to the statement.
The 11-year-old was slightly better, at the 5th percentile for her age and height. The other children were healthy according to the statement.
The girls detailed the difference between being in "regular prison" and "deep prison," according to the statement.
During regular prison punishment, the girls were allowed to sleep in the house on a beach towel on the floor of the office.
Deep prison meant sleeping outside in a tent 24/7, according to the statement. The oldest was not allowed to wear clothes and the 11-year-old was allowed to wear a diaper, according to the statement.
Kimery Jorg said the punishments began five years ago, about the time they were adopting the girls, according to the statement. Post-it notes were found throughout the kitchen as reminders of punishments still owed to the girls, Kimery Jorg said, because the girls' behavior had been progressively worse and they accrued so much punishment that she could not get through it all.
Kimery Jorg said the girls would often have apple cider vinegar sprayed in their mouths for lying, the number of sprays equaling their age, according to the statement. They were forced to hold it in for 15 seconds, swish it around for another 15 second and then swallow. They were then given a timeout of standing against a door with hands behind their heads for a number of minutes equaling their age, according to the statement.
Kimery also said they had to run for one hour straight in the heat, write several Bible verses three times each, the number of verses equaling their age and if there were three or more mistakes, the verses had to be rewritten several times.
A 22-year-old daughter also lives at the house.
Bond was set at $100,000 for each parent.
Johann Jorg told the judge his income is only $1,000 a month. Neither he nor his wife had an attorney appointed by the court.
The judge ordered they were not to contact their children or any children younger than 18 years old.