The New York Times, February 1, 2001Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents
Dad Jailed for Dog - Housed Daughter
By The Associated Press
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) -- A father was ordered to spend 30 days in jail Thursday for forcing his 7-year-old daughter to sleep in a doghouse to show her how she could end up if living with him didn't work out.
Christian Williams, 33, also must pay a $500 fine and take a parenting class for pleading guilty to felony abuse and neglect charges.
He told a judge he kept the child outside for two nights because less severe punishments had not deterred her bad behavior. He wanted her to understand that she could end up homeless if living with him didn't work out, he said.
Prosecutors said the punishment lasted two weeks.
Williams and the girl's stepmother, Jennifer Williams, were arrested Aug. 13 after a neighbor told police she heard the girl scream, ``Please, Daddy, let me in.'' The stepmother pleaded guilty to the same charges and is to be sentenced Friday.
When police found the girl in the 4-by-8-foot plywood doghouse, she had not bathed or been fed in two days, prosecutors said. She was covered in mosquito bites and soaked from rain that leaked through the roof during a thunderstorm. The girl also had a soggy cast on her wrist, which broke when another child dropped her in day care, her father said.
Williams obtained custody of the girl and her 10-year-old sister after authorities allegedly found them living in a garbage-strewn, rodent-infested home with their mother in California. The girls now live with their maternal grandmother in California.