LOGAN — A Hyde Park couple accused of child abuse for keeping a 7-year-old in a bare room as punishment, among other things, were bound over for trial on Thursday.
During a preliminary hearing in 1st District Court, Judge Brian Cannell found probable cause for the charges against Craig and Paulette Boersma. The two face one count each of second-degree felony child abuse. They face 1 to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The Boersmas are accused of keeping their adopted 7-year-old in an under-surveillance, barren room with restricted access to food as a consequence for certain behaviors. During his testimony, North Park Police Department Interim Chief of Police Ulysses Black said the room had no functional artificial light, no carpet and no personal belongings besides a foldable cot. Black said in his testimony the child had consumed pieces of carpet, dog food and other random things causing stomach distress.
It’s alleged the Boersmas also used cold showers as a consequence, while restricting actual bathing to once per week. Black said the Boersmas said if the child urinated on himself, it counted as a bathing.
Black said in his testimony that the investigation of the Boersmas began on Sept. 5, 2017, after an anonymous person — who was later described as someone close to the family — contacted the Division of Child and Family Services, stating the child hadn’t gained weight in the past year.
“He was a very sad child that first day that I met him,” Black said. “It was surprising” the child was as talkative as he was.
Stacie Mecham, a pediatric nurse practitioner who examined the child, said in her testimony the child lost 4 to 5 pounds within the course of a week. She said such loss of weight is concerning for young children and could be described as a failure to thrive.
Defense attorney Melissa Fulkerson asked the court to bind the Boersmas over on charges of a lesser degree, arguing the Boersmas were “tremendously cooperative” with law enforcement and didn’t intend or knowingly cause harm to the child.
The child was, and remains, removed from the Boersmas’ custody.
“The child is in a safe place,” said Cache County prosecutor Dane Murray.
An arraignment for the Boersma was scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 4.