A court heard this week that Odalis Sharp, above – a mother of ten from Topeka, Kansas – severely abused her children by beating them, screaming at them and calling them names.
According to this report, the court ruled this week that a number of her children should remain in the custody of the Kansas Department for Children and Families after three of them described the abuse they had suffered at the hands of Sharp.
The deranged woman first came to media attention when she and her family sang for a bunch of armed nuts who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year.
The children told the Shawnee County District Court judge how their their siblings would scream in the pain when their mother tried “beat the fire” out of them and fill their mouths with liquid soap.
Sharp, however, insisted she wasn’t a bad mother or a monster. She loved her kids.
But by Wednesday afternoon, Judge Steven Ebberts had heard enough. There was a line between punishment and abuse, Ebberts said, and the mother had repeatedly crossed it.
Before the ruling, Sharp said she was a woman of God, who had raised her kids right.
I think the real abuse is to take these children from their home.
Sharp had two different rods that she would hit the children with, the kids said. One plastic. One wooden.
If they moved, Sharp told them, more swats from the rod would follow. She’d use the rod to spank them on their buttocks, but sometimes it would hit their thighs, breaking the skin and causing them to bleed.
The rods came out after the children had disappointed her, disobeyed a rule or frustrated her. The kids remembered standing on the stairs, listening as their mother spanked one of the other kids with the rod, yelling and screaming Bible verses during the punishment.
The kids also struggled to read at their grade level.
The children would woken up by 8 am and have Bible lessons and breakfast. They would practice music and do chores. They would have lunch and sometimes do school work, depending on the day. They would practice their music again, have dinner, and the day would come to a close.
At a certain point, the kids said the beatings and abuse became too much to handle. One ran away, and soon the others followed suit.
One of the teenage Sharps said:
We felt it was unsafe. We were not sure what would happen in the future.
At the start of the year, the Sharp Family Singers found an audience. The kids practiced music daily, and in Oregon the group found an opportunity to stand out.
The family headed west and performed for the armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The kids sang patriotic and gospel music for Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their supporters.
The trip to Oregon made the Sharps famous. It also gave the family a distrust of government and law enforcement, Sharp said, referencing the death of rancher LaVoy Finicum, above, in a standoff with police.
Years before, one of Sharp’s eldest children had been taken away by the state after reports of abuse and neglect. And earlier this year, the state received tips that the children still living with Sharp were being abused.
At the end of April, five of her children fled the home. The kids took the family guns from a cubbyhole in their mother’s room while she was in the shower and stashed them at the end of their driveway before going to the Shawnee County sheriff’s office. One of her other underage children had already run away.
A few days later during an emotional court hearing in May, the state was given temporary custody of the seven children under the age of 18.
Sharp had repeatedly said she’d use her rights to protect her family.
That comment worried one of her older kids. The child couldn’t help thinking that if the state came back to the house, and the mother brandished a weapon, there could be a shootout. There was a sense of terror in home, the kids said.
Sharp, on the other hand, claimed that there were “evil spirits” in the house right before the kids ran away. The children were using bad words and disobeying her. Other adults had meddled in their lives, she said. Sharp knew her children were angry. Sharp said her kids were rebelling, acting out. They had lied to her, she said, so she’d punished them.
I properly discipline them. That’s why they are excellent children.
Sharp has 30 days to appeal the judge’s ruling. Her ex-husband has asked the court if the children could come live with him. But for now, the children will stay in state custody. The father’s request will be heard by the court later this summer
Standing in front of her rusted blue van in the court’s parking lot, Odalis Sharp said she hadn’t decided if she’d appeal. The charges were trumped up, she said.
“I think crying wolf, crying abuse, was their way out,” she said about her kids.