Christian homeschoolers David and Louise Turpin have been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the torture and abuse of their 13 children.
David and Louise Turpin have each been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after they pleaded guilty to holding captive and torturing their children for years in their California home.
The California Christian homeschoolers who kept their children “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks” entered a guilty plea to multiple felony charges of torture and other abuse earlier this year, and were sentenced Friday for their crimes.
Before sentencing the Christian homeschoolers were given a chance to speak. Louise Turpin, the mother, said that she believes “God has a special plan” for each of the children, declaring:
I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to hurt my children. I love them more than they could ever imagine.
David Turpin, the father, cried as he tried to address the court. Ultimately his attorney was forced to read his statement, which read in part:
I thank God for all of my children…
Delivering the sentence, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Schwartz cited the parents “selfish, cruel and inhumane treatment” of their children, noting:
Their lives have been permanently altered in their ability to learn, grow and thrive.
The Christian homeschoolers were placed under arrest in January 2018 after police found their 13 children emaciated and “shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings” in their family home.
Commenting on the family, James and Betty Turpin, the parents of David Turpin, and grandparents to the abused children, said that “God called on them” (referring to their son David and his wife Louise) to have as many children as possible.
The grandparents also report that the children were given “very strict home-schooling,” and that the children were forced to memorize long passages of the Bible.
The Washington Post reports:
The siblings’ grandparents told ABC News that during the children’s home schooling, they were made to memorize long scriptures of the Bible, with some memorizing the entire book.
Commenting on the horrific case, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said:
This is severe, emotional and physical abuse. There is no way around that. This is depraved conduct.
In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen. We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm.
Hestrin noted that while the children were supposed to be homeschooled, they were so clueless about the world that “many of the children didn’t know what a police officer was.”
Note: While homeschooling can be a good fit for some children, often parents are not qualified either by temperament or by education to be homeschooling their children. Add to that the ignorance and bigotry associated with religious superstition, and one is left with a toxic brew ripe for abuse and neglect in the world of Christian homeschooling.
However, being shackled and tortured is not the only hazard faced by children forced into the secretive and sometimes dangerous world of Christian homeschooling. One need only recall the tragic life and death of Leelah Alcorn, or the tragic circumstances of the Duggar family, to recognize the dangers inherent in the Christian homeschooling movement.
Bottom line: Christian homeschoolers in California who kept their children shackled to their beds in dark and foul-smelling surroundings while forcing them to memorize Bible verses will serve 25 years-to-life in prison for their crimes.