An Oklahoma couple was arrested for forcing their 4-year-old son to sleep inside a dog cage. Johnathon Lee, age, 31, and Suzanne Satterfield, age 33, are facing charges of child neglect and abuse. Authorities said the child spent up to 14 hours per day locked inside a wire cage, which was designed for dogs.
Caseworkers with the Rogers County Department of Human Services discovered the boy inside the cage during a visit to the couple’s home. The caseworkers were stunned as the door to the cage was secured with a padlock.
As reported by News On 6, the DHS workers removed the boy and two other children, age 7 and 14, from the home. All three children are currently in protective custody.
Deputies with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department responded to the home and arrested Lee, the child’s stepfather, for abuse. During an interview, Lee freely admitted locking the 4-year-old inside the dog cage.
In a sworn affidavit, the defendant admitted using the cage “for at least three weeks.” The young boy was routinely handcuffed and locked inside the crate to sleep — and as a form of punishment.
Lee said he and his wife used the cage to protect the boy from “exposed wires,” which were present in the child’s bedroom. As the 4-year-old previously broke free from the cage, Lee said he was forced to use handcuffs and padlock the door of the cage.
Authorities said the child spent up to 14 hours each day locked inside the cage. Rogers County Sheriff, Scott Walton, said the case is heartbreaking:
“… 14 hours is a very, very long period of time. In this situation, 30 minutes is too long. We don’t keep kids in cages.”
Authorities have also charged Lee with sexual abuse. During an interview, Lee’s 14-year-old stepdaughter revealed that she was physically and sexually abused by the defendant.
Satterfield, the mother of all three children, was later arrested on charges of permitting child abuse. Although Satterfield admitted her 4-year-old son was routinely locked inside a dog cage, she said “it was a big mistake” and that she and her husband “went too far.”
As reported by Fox 23 News, interviews with the children and the condition of the couple’s home suggest Lee had an anger management issue. Deputies said there was extensive damage to the walls and decor, which suggest they were punched and kicked by the defendant.
Lee and Satterfield are currently incarcerated for locking their 4-year-old son in a dog cage and sexual abuse. Their bond was set at $50,000 each.
[Image via Shutterstock]