STEUBENVILLE - Four people involved in putting young children inside plastic containers as a form of punishment on June 16 pleaded guilty Tuesday before Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson.
James A. Taylor, 30, Samantha M. Taylor, 26, and Glenn A. Adams, 28, all of 1321 Oregon Ave., and Daniel A. McKenney, 22, of 201 Bartleyville Road, Burgettstown, Pa., were indicted in August in connection with the case.
The Taylors pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of endangering children, a felony count of child endangering and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful restraint. Adams and McKenney pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of unlawful restraint.
County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Bruzzese said James Taylor was the primary person responsible for the abuse. Bruzzese recommended James Taylor serve six months in jail and six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center. He also recommended Samantha Taylor be given credit for the 115 days she served in jail and be placed on probation. The Taylors faced up to 36 months in prison.
Henderson ordered a presentence investigation for the Taylors.
Adams and McKenney were placed on one year of monitored probation by Henderson.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said in August the Taylors put three children, ages 8, 6 and 5 at the time, inside plastic storage containers as punishment. City police reported holes were cut in the lids. At some point, water was poured on the children inside the containers, police said. And at some point, the holes were covered with a T-shirt, the report states.
A call was made to county Children Services about the incident, and a city officer investigated and interviewed the children. The children were removed and placed in the care of Children Services. Bruzzese said a grandfather now has custody of the children.
James Taylor said the children were playing in the basement when they knocked the plastic containers down, breaking other items. He said the children played hide and seek in the containers. Taylor said the children wouldn't stand in the corner for a 10-minute punishment, so he said he gave them the option of having the containers cut up or spending 10 minutes inside the containers. Taylor said the children chose to be placed in the containers.
After they were placed in the containers, the Taylors left to go to the grocery store. Taylor said Adams and McKenney, an uncle of the children, were supposed to let the children out of the containers.
A woman came to the home in the meantime and let the youngsters out of the containers. Bruzzese said the children were in the containers for about 25 minutes.
"I corrected the children in a manner that wasn't appropriate. I made a severe error (in judgment). I didn't think what I did was dangerous," Taylor told the judge.
Samantha Taylor told Henderson she was only told by her husband, James Taylor, that he put her stepchildren in the containers. She claimed she was outside playing with her other children at the time.