FAIRFIELD — Prosecutors will file nine counts of felony child abuse against the California mother of 10 children who investigators said suffered long-term abuse in a filthy home, authorities said.
Ina Rogers, who's scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, told reporters earlier this week that the allegations against her and her husband are false.
It's still unclear whether any California government agencies had an opportunity to intervene in the years authorities claim the children were abused inside their home in suburban Fairfield, about 46 miles (74 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco. Their mother claimed social services interviewed the kids three years ago but nothing came of the visit.
Rogers, 31, told reporters that she had one prior interaction with child welfare officials when her mother "had mentioned something" that prompted a home visit. Officials took pictures of the children and interviewed them individually, she said.
"Nothing was founded, my kids were placed back with me," she said.
Solano County's Child Welfare Services department officials did not immediately respond to requests Tuesday for details about the visit, or information about other interactions they may have had with members of the household.
Sheriff's and prosecutors say the children were rescued from a filthy house in March and had suffered puncture wounds, burns, bruising and injuries consistent with being shot with a pellet gun. Sharon Henry, the county's chief deputy district attorney, said they were tortured "for sadistic purposes."
Their father, Jonathan Allen, 29, was arrested Friday and is in Solano County Jail on seven counts of torture and nine counts of felony child abuse. He has pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $5.2 million.
Allen denied the allegations in an interview with KCRA-TV on Tuesday, declaring "I am not an animal."
"The truth is that it is a functioning household," he said. "Everyone helped everyone. It was a complete circle — the older ones helped the little ones."
Questions remain as to how the children and the alleged abuse went undetected for years until March 31, when police responding to a missing juvenile report entered the house.
They found a home filled with rotted food and human and animal waste, said Fairfield Lt. Greg Hurlbut. Police removed the children, ages 4 months to 12 years, and arrested Rogers on suspicion of neglect. She was released after posting $10,000 bail.
Stories about the alleged abuse came out gradually in interviews with the children over the past six weeks and eight of the children told professionals about incidents dating back several years, authorities said.
Rogers says she home-schooled the children, but the Fairfield home was not registered as a private school and neither were three prior addresses in Fairfield and Vallejo, according to the California Department of Education.
California law requires children to be enrolled in public school unless they meet specific exemptions, such as documented attendance at a private school. Parents who teach their own children can register as a private school but the state does not approve, monitor or inspect them. Some home-based instruction is also offered through self-directed programs at public or charter schools.
Rogers said she previously enrolled her two oldest children in school but decided to teach them herself because she didn't think they were getting enough attention. She said her daughter failed to get on the school bus on her first day of kindergarten and was later found talking to a stranger and his dog at the school, she said.