Hyde Park couple bound over for trial on child abuse charges

Booking photos for Craig and Paulette Boersma (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A couple from Hyde Park are being bound over for trial on charges that they abused, malnourished and neglected their adopted son. Craig R. Boersma and Paulette Boersma are suspected of allegedly locking the 7-year-old boy inside a room for days 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 morning for a preliminary hearing. Both were arrested last summer and later charged with child abuse, a second-degree felony.

During testimony, Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray played a recorded interview of the alleged victim, speaking with investigators. The boy claimed his parents didn’t care about him, like his younger brother. He described being locked in his basement room naked, and having to relieve himself in the corners because his parents wouldn’t let him out to use the bathroom. He also said he was often starved for one-to-three-days and given cold showers, while being told by his parents that he better remember how it feels.

North Park Police Interim Chief Ulysses Black said he and investigators from the Division of Child and Family Services went to the boy’s house on September 5. He noticed how the boy’s room had no carpet inside. The door had an alarm and lock on it. The room also had no light or heat, and had a surveillance camera in it.

Chief Black also said while he interviewed Paulette, she said that the boy was placed in the room as punishment for acting out destroying things. She explained that he was supposed to do yoga, meditate and sleep while there. She also said that because the boy was African American, he only needed to be bathed once a week.

A nurse who examined the boy after police interviewed him, testified that the boy described how both parents hit him, sometimes using a wooden spoon or a belt that had spikes on it. Her medical exam showed that he had lost 5 pounds in a week.

Paulette and Craig Boersma did not speak during the hearing.

Defense attorney Melissa Fulkerson said the evidence didn’t show the Boersma’s intentionally or knowingly harmed the child, and were just trying to be good parents. She said her clients had cooperated with investigators and if anything, should only be charged with misdemeanor negligence.

Judge Brian Cannell disagreed, ruling that prosecutors had provided sufficient evidence to bind the Boersmas over for trial. He cited the medical report that found the victim had experienced severe emotional harm. He ordered the two defendants to appear again in court February 4 to be formally arraigned.

The Boersmas remain out of jail after posting bail. They could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The boy has been removed from the home and placed in the care of foster parents.


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