Police looking for a missing 12-year-old say they found his nine siblings living in squalor in a Fairfield, California, home, suffering from years of “sadistic" torture.
But Ina Rogers, 30, said Monday that she and her husband, Jonathan Allen, 29, have been unfairly vilified by authorities, reported KGO.
“I strive, I thrive on being a good parent to my children," Rogers said. "My husband has a lot of tattoos. He looks like a scary individual, and that's why people are so quick to judge him. But my husband is an amazing person. I am an amazing mother."
The couple’s 10 children were removed in March after police looking for the missing boy found garbage, rotten food, urine, and animal and human feces strewn about the home, Lt. Greg Hurlbut told Fox News. The children all slept on cots or on the floor in one bedroom.
The missing boy, whom his mother said had run away as an act of rebellion, was later found sleeping under a bush, police told The San Francisco Chronicle.
Rogers was arrested March 31 on suspicion of neglect. Allen was arrested Friday on suspicion of torture and abuse following an investigation, Fairfield police said in a press release.
The children, ages 4 months to 12 years old, had suffered “sadistic” abuse dating back to 2014, including puncture wounds, burns and bruises consistent with being shot by BB or pellet guns, Chief Deputy District Attorney Sharon Henry told the Chronicle.
"It literally breaks your heart, and you're outraged by how a parent or anyone could commit those acts," she told KGO.
Outside her home on Monday, Rogers told reporters she felt she was being judged for having 10 children and choosing to homeschool them, according to Fox News.
"There's no broken bones, there is no major scars, nothing," Rogers said. "My kids get bumped and bruised and scratched because they're kids, but that's it."
Rogers said her two-story, four-bedroom house had been in disarray when police arrived because of the frantic search for her missing son, but press photos from a tour she led Monday show haphazard piles of boxes and household items, along with a feces-smeared bathroom.
She said the children all slept in the same room because they were close, reported The Mercury News. The other bedrooms were used as a master bedroom, playroom and meditation room.
Allen, speaking Tuesday to KCRA from jail, also defended himself.
"I want the police to know that I am not an animal," he said. " I am not an animal."
He blamed conditions inside the home on his dogs. "What they are talking about is, I have two bathrooms and I have a German shepherd and in both bathrooms, I have a German shepherd puppy," Allen told KCRA. "It blew up both bathrooms, so both bathrooms were destroyed."
He described the family to the station as "functioning" and "a complete circle."
"I want to tell them that I love them," Allen said of his children, according to KCRA. "This will pass. Whether their minds understand now or later, they will understand and they know, they know, they know daddy."
Neighbors of the family told the Chronicle they rarely saw the children and were surprised to learn the couple had 10 kids.