LOGAN — The preliminary hearing for a Hyde Park couple, accused of abusing their son, has been postponed because of a possible conflict of interest. Craig R. Boersma and Paulette Boersma are suspected of locking their child inside a room for months with no bed or carpet, and forcing him to sleep naked and urinate on the floor.
The 39-year-old father and 31-year-old mother appeared in 1st District Court Thursday afternoon. Both were arrested last summer and later charged with child abuse, a second-degree felony.
Moments before the hearing was to begin, defense attorney Melissa Fulkerson asked to meet with Judge Brian Cannell in his chambers. She explained that she needed to discuss a concern that she had learned about during her investigation.
After a brief meeting, Judge Cannell and the attorneys returned to the courtroom. He said there may be a conflict of interest among someone who might be participating in the hearing, who might be related to the suspects. He did not disclose who it was but ordered for a blood test to be done. He scheduled another pre-trial conference for October 15.
According to North Park Police’s search warrants, officers received a report from the Division of Child and Family Services that a 7-year-old boy “was being withheld meals by the parents and that the child had not appeared to have gained any weight in a year. It was also reported that he was left in the same clothes for a long period of time.”
On Sept. 5, officers went to the house to interview the boy.
The alleged victim told officers that he was locked in a room with no carpet, padding, bedding, and no pillow for months. He described sleeping on the floor in the bedroom with no clothes, completely naked, with one blanket. He said that the room had no carpet due to he would eat the carpet and pee on it.
The boy also disclosed that sometimes he was locked in the room for an entire day and wouldn’t be fed. When he was in trouble, his parents put him in an ice cold shower, telling him, “I hope you remember how this feels.”
Paulette Boersma told detectives that there was a camera system, allowing them to communicate with a speaker back and forth with the boy, when he was in his room. She stated that he just had to wave his arms at the camera and that was the sign that they could communicate with him.
Paulette and Craig Boersma remain out of jail after posting bail. They could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.