Stephanie Ann Broten and her husband, Darnell Alan Landrum, were arrested and charged in Anoka County, Minnesota, on Wednesday with one count of malicious punishment.
On Monday evening, police were called to the couple’s home in Fridley, where a crowd of 30-50 people was gathered watching a young girl run around in nothing but a diaper and tank top.
The girl, Broten’s daughter, and Darnell’s step-daughter, was reportedly forced by the couple to shave her head and run around the neighborhood in nothing but a diaper following bad grades at school.
Authorities were shocked to learn of the punishment, and of the fact that, even after being arrested and booked into jail, Broten and Landrum seemed unaffected, laughing and joking at the expense of the humiliated 12-year-old girl.
Officers believe that the girl had been running outside, between her home and a neighborhood basketball court, for about half and hour, before a neighbor called police.
Police and witnesses reported that the girl was hysterical, and appeared to have been crying for a long time. Fridley Police Lt. Mike Monsrud told reporters that:
“[Broten and Landrum] told her if she didn’t [earn good grades], they would shave her head and put her on ‘diaper duty,’ which I guess meant running up and down the street and cleaning up trash as a form of public humiliation. Through the whole contact, and even on the way to jail, both were laughing and thinking it was ridiculous police would get involved in what they said was their parental decision.”
The girl’s step father told police that the girl had been warned several times by himself and her mother that if she did not start listening and paying attention in school, she would be forced to undergo the horrifying punishment.
Broten has been released from jail pending a court hearing, while Landrum remains behind bars. Both have standing no contacting orders with the 12-year-old girl. If convicted of the crime, they each face up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.