WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. — A Westmoreland County couple is facing charges after using 19 security cameras to keep their children on lock, including preventing them from getting food and keeping the bathrooms locked up.
The three children, ages 9 to 16, told police that they didn’t feel safe in their home on Indian Hill Road and that they were under constant video surveillance.
According to the criminal complaint, Leann Lawson and Nevin Lawson kept locks on the kitchen cabinets and locked a room containing two freezers of food.
All of the bathrooms, except one in the basement, were also locked.
A neighbor named Dolores Polchinski told Channel 11 that she’s horrified.
“I met the wife and the husband, he talked to me, he was very nice. Never could say he wasn’t very respectful and that’s why I said I’m in shock,” Polchinski said.
The children filed a childline abuse report telling authorities their parents drank heavily and argued, causing a hostile living environment where the kids were verbally and mentally abused.
When police interviewed the children at their schools, they found the 9-year-old wearing only a shirt as a short dress when temperatures were below 20 degrees.
The criminal complaint stated the oldest boy lost a considerable amount of weight and one of the boys expressed suicidal thoughts.
The Lawsons were released from police custody on a $25 thousand dollar non-secured bond.
Right now, the children are not in the custody of their parents and a no-contact order was placed as a condition of the Lawsons’ bond.
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