Watertown parents accused of confining kids arraigned

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WATERTOWN - A Watetown couple charged with abusing their five adopted children by making them stand and read in the bathroom for long periods of time had passed background checks before they were cleared by state child welfare officials to adopt.

George and Nancie Barnes, of Watertown, rushed from the courthouse without speaking after their arraignment Friday on charges of cruelty to persons, second-degree unlawful restraint, and risk of injury to a minor. They were ordered to have no contact with the children, who range in age from 9 to 18.

They applied for a public defender. They are due back in court Feb. 24.

Authorities say the children were made to stand in the bathroom for weeks at a time, allowed out to sleep and go to school.

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.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families released a statement on Friday:

The parents who were arrested today were licensed by the Department and accordingly received criminal and child welfare background checks prior to obtaining their license and caring for the children. We have high expectations for the families who foster and adopt children from state care, and those expectations are met in in all but the rarest of instances. If the allegations are true, the treatment of the children is completely unacceptable and a violation of the trust we place in foster and adoptive families. The children were removed from the home when we received information about this treatment a number of weeks ago, and they are receiving services to help them heal from their experiences.