Adoptive parents in Watertown arrested for confining kids to bathroom as punishment

George and Nancie Barnes

WATERTOWN — A man and woman have been arrested for allegedly locking their adopted children in a bathroom for months at a time as punishment.

George Barnes, 45, and his wife Nancie Barnes, 46, both of Watertown, were arrested on Thursday and charged with two counts of cruelty to persons, unlawful restraint in the second degree and risk of injury to a minor.

An investigation began after a report of abuse was made to Watertown Police School Liaison Officer Dave McDonnell on December 15, 2015.

It was determined that five children living in the home, ranging in ages from 9 to 18, were confined to a bathroom for months at a time as punishment.

The children were forced to stand and read while they were locked in the bathroom, and the couple would monitor their actions through a baby monitor. Meals were brought to the kids, and they were allowed to leave the bathroom to go to school and to sleep.

The kids were each locked in the bathroom at various times and for various reasons, according to police.

Police found that one child was even confined for three months, from September 2015 until police began investigating on December 15, 2015. The children were temporarily removed from the home by the Department of Children and Families.

Both George and Nancie  Barnes are being held on $35,000 bond and will appear in court on Friday. Police say more charges are expected to be filed.