A Michigan father accused of locking his children in a dungeon as punishment pleaded no-contest in court on Tuesday. Yenier Conde accepted the plea-deal during his trial for the abuse of his five children.
In a stunning moment in a Michigan courtroom, Yenier Conde pleaded no-contest to two counts of second-degree child abuse. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 13 other counts, including first and second-degree child abuse, unlawful imprisonment and weapons charges.
According to the Lansing Journal, Conde’s plea agreement will save him from the potential of serving life in prison. A judge in the case told Conde that he expected to sentence him to a minimum sentence of six years or less. Conde’s agreement includes the opportunity to withdraw the plea if the judge exceeds the estimate provided in court.
The plea agreement wraps up the case against Yenier and Sarah Conde. The former couple was arrested in 2018 after police said they locked their children in a dark “dungeon-like” room in their basement.
According to court documents, the couple’s five children were forced to stay in the room for days at a time as punishment. While in the locked room, the children were not fed or allowed to use the restroom. Instead, the parent’s forced the children to wear diapers.
When police discovered the room, they found holes in the walls. One of the children told authorities that their siblings would pass them food through vents. All of the children witnessed domestic violence during their lives. Additionally, the children admitted that their parents routinely beat them and threatened them with guns.
In June, Sarah Conde accepted a plea agreement for her role in the abuse. Sarah Conde pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree child abuse for failing to provide her children with dental care. All five of the children had some form of dental disease after CPS removed them from home. Sarah Conde’s sentencing will be later this month.
Since the children’s removal, the children have been placed in foster care. Experts that testified at Sarah Conde’s trial told the court that all children suffer from trauma and personality disorders related to their parent’s abuse. The parents denied their children health care, dental care, and held them as captives in a violent home. According to the experts, the children will need extensive therapy to recover from the abuse they experienced from their parents.
When police arrested Yenier in 2018, he told police that he did not believe locking a child in a dark room for days was a crime.
Yenier Conde will be sentenced for his role in the abuse on July 28. He pleaded no-contest in the event the county or children move forward with civil litigation against him.
With the cases against the parents complete, the plea agreements seem like a slap on the wrist for both of them. Neither parent will spend more than a decade behind bars for the years of torture they put their children through. The parents could be out of prison before their youngest child is a legal adult. Thankfully for the children, the state terminated Sarah and Yenier’s parental rights.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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