Ten children rescued from a California home were punched, kicked, strangled, shot with a BB gun and subjected to waterboarding by their father, and their mother did nothing to stop it, say prosecutors.
Details of the alleged abuse were revealed in court documents.
It follows news on Monday that authorities had removed the 10 children from their northern Californian home where they say torture was carried out “for sadistic purposes”.
The father, Jonathan Allen, 29, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of child abuse and seven counts of torture.
The children’s mother, Ina Rogers, 31, was charged with nine counts of child abuse. She did not enter a plea, but had previously denied allegations her children were harmed.
She also faces one count of child neglect involving all 10 children.
“On a continuous basis the children were getting punched, strangled, bitten, shot with weapons such as crossbows and BB guns, hit with weapons such as sticks and bats, subjected to waterboarding and having scalding water poured on them,” Solano County Deputy District Attorney, Veronica Juarez, wrote in the court documents.
The court records show the 10 children were aged from six months to 12 years old, but the documents do not specify which child suffered which injuries.
Prosecutors revealed the details in a motion to increase the bail of Ina Rogers.
The motion states that when Fairfield Police arrived at the two-story house, in a suburb 74 kilometres northeast of San Francisco on March 31, they found the children “huddled together on the living room floor” in a home littered with faeces and trash.
“The children appeared to be skittish and spoke with speech impediments,” Ms Juarez wrote.
Prosecutors allege Ms Rogers assisted in the abuse and “dissuaded the children” from reporting their injuries, which included broken arms.
On Wednesday, Judge William J. Pendergast set bail at $US495,000 ($657,000) for Ms Rogers, saying she “may not be a danger to the public at large, but these charges make clear she is a danger to the children”.
It is unclear whether any Californian government agencies had an opportunity to intervene sooner or knew of turmoil in the household.
Ms Rogers was taken into custody after the hearing. Her court-appointed attorney, Barry Newman, declined to comment.