A Hyde Park couple — each facing one count of second-degree child abuse — entered a plea of not guilty on Tuesday.
Paulette and Craig Boersma, age 31 and 39 respectively, did not enter a plea after their preliminary hearing on Dec. 12. Melissa Fulkerson, defense attorney for the Boersmas, said they were working on resolving some concerns with the state.
A pretrial conference was scheduled for April 6.
The Boersmas are accused of holding their adopted 7-year-old in a barren basement room with restricted access to food as a consequence for certain behavior. Police allege the child resorted to eating dog food and pieces of carpet, among other things, causing stomach distress. In addition to restricted access to food, police said the Boersmas restricted bathing and used cold showers as consequences.
During the preliminary hearing in December, police testified there was a camera in the room used to surveil and communicate with the child. There were no toys, carpet or artificial light in the small room — only a foldable cot without bedding.
An unidentified person close to the family reported potential abuse in September 2017.
The child remains removed from the Boersma’s custody.