JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for caging her teenage son after two of her other children's court testimonies shed light on their home life.
Brenda Sullivan learned her punishment after two youngsters took the stand and painted a disturbing picture for the judge, claiming they were duct-taped and caged.
Every night for a decade, Sullivan locked her adopted son in a cage. When state workers got to him, he was 17 and weighed less than 50 pounds.
Prosecutors and investigators said the case was one of the worst they’ve seen.
“These children suffered horribly for 10 years. There are no winners here today,” said prosecutor Julie Schelx.
In 2005, investigators went to Sullivan’s home after getting a tip of child abuse. Inside the woman’s home, they said they found her 17-year-old adopted son nearly starved to death.
Two other children were also found to be malnourished.
Sullivan pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated child abuse.
Two of those children took the stand in Sullivan’s sentencing hearing on Thursday. Each described to the court how they were always hungry and denied food. They said they were forced to sleep in a crib that was converted into a cage.
One of the children, a young girl, described how Sullivan used to duct-tape her every night:
Prosecutor: Who put you to bed?
Daughter: My mom.
Prosecutor: And how would you get into your bed?
Daughter: They put me in bed because I would be duct-taped.
Prosecutor: Tell us about that. How would you be duct-taped?
Daughter: Head to my feet. My arms right here and to my feet.
Prosecutor: Do you know why you were duct-taped?
Prosecutor: Do you know how often you were duct taped?
Daughter: Every day.
Prosecutor: Would you sometimes be awake when you were in your bed cage?
A caseworker told the court that the girl told her Sullivan would bite her, and the employee said the child had bite marks.
Along with the taping of limbs and caging we hear about biting the children too?
Previous posts on this story found here and here.