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Watertown couple arrested again for locking adopted kids in bathroom as discipline

WATERTOWN — A couple who was arrested in January for allegedly locking their adopted children in the bathroom for long periods of time as punishment has b...
Nancie and George Barnes

WATERTOWN — A couple who was arrested in January for allegedly locking their adopted children in the bathroom for long periods of time as punishment has been arrested again.

On Tuesday, police arrested Nancie and George Barnes, charging them with additional counts of risk of injury to a minor, unlawful restraint and cruelty to persons for their treatment of their other three children. The first arrest was only regarding two of the five kids, who range in age from 9 to 18.

The couple is said to have disciplined their children by locking them in the bathroom, sometimes for months at a time, and requiring them to stand and read for hours. The children were only allowed out for school and to sleep, and were given food while in the bathroom.

Besides the original charges extending to the other children, George was charged with third-degree assault and Nancie was charged with disorderly conduct after an incident in which the oldest of the five children was grabbed by the throat and pinned to the couch by George while Nancie pushed him.

The specific new charges are:

  • George: two counts of cruelty to persons, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, two counts of unlawful restraint in the second degree and one count of assault in the third degree
  • Nancie: two counts of cruelty to persons, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, two counts of unlawful restraint in the second degree and one count of disorderly conduct.

The previous charges from January included two counts of cruelty to persons, unlawful restraint in the second degree and risk of injury to a minor each.

Both were released on $10,000 bond and will appear in court on Wednesday.

The children remain in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

State officials say that George and Nancie had passed background checks before they were cleared by state child welfare officials to adopt the five kids. After the first arrest in January, DCF released this statement:

The parents who were arrested today were licensed by the Department and accordingly received criminal and child welfare background checks prior to obtaining their license and caring for the children. We have high expectations for the families who foster and adopt children from state care, and those expectations are met in in all but the rarest of instances. If the allegations are true, the treatment of the children is completely unacceptable and a violation of the trust we place in foster and adoptive families. The children were removed from the home when we received information about this treatment a number of weeks ago, and they are receiving services to help them heal from their experiences.