Couple accused of abusing son - Titusville Herald: News

Couple accused of abusing son

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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 5:00 am

CHERRYTREE TOWNSHIP, Venango County — A Cherrytree couple are facing felony charges for allegedly abusing their son for roughly several years, including tying him to a tree, forcing him to sleep in the bathroom and making him stand in a corner for hours.

According to Franklin-based State Police, Katie Nicole Strawbridge, 39, and Travis John Strawbridge, 38, allegedly performed multiple forms of abuse on their son at their Stone Springhouse Road residence, the details of which were revealed through interviews by police and Venango County Human Services personnel with the child. Katie Strawbridge is the adoptive mother of the boy in question, while Travis Strawbridge is his biological father.

A forensic interview was conducted at the Venango County Human Services Complex with the boy on April 29, by which time he was living with his grandparents, according to the affidavit. The child reportedly told the Human Services official that he was often yelled at by his parents, even for doing something such as playing with toys.

He also said that he was made to stand in a corner for much of the average day, with the affidavit stating that he “indicated his whole life he has been standing in the corner.” The boy reportedly said that he would be forced to stand in the corner on mornings before school for 30 minutes, and upon returning, he would be made to stand in the corner again until 11 p.m. He was not allowed to leave the corner, and the victim said the only time he was allowed to sit was if he was given a plate of food. On other instances, he was purportedly made to eat standing up.

The boy also told the interviewer that he was reportedly forced to sleep in the bathroom every night for roughly the last year, usually on a thin mat. According to the affidavit, the victim’s parents would lock him inside the bathroom for the night by drilling a board on the outside of the door so it could not be opened. In addition, the bathroom lacked running water, as said by the boy, and the window was sometimes left open on cold nights.

In the interview, the boy also said his parents on three occasions duct taped him to the cupboard in the bathroom for the night so he was unable to move. On other occasions, he was reportedly not given a blanket and was forced to use his pillow to stay warm.

According to the affidavit, there was one instance where the boy was tied to a tree outside at night. He said that this occurred while the family was camping.

The boy also indicated that he had siblings who were not treated the same way he was. He said they were allowed to sleep in their bedrooms and eat at the kitchen table.

In a follow up interview performed by Franklin-based State Police on Tuesday, the boy reiterated his statements from his discussion with Human Services. He also revealed more alleged cases of abuse, including being forced to swallow hot sauce without a drink and on at least two occasions made to stand outside in the snow while wearing only pajamas and no shoes or socks for around 10 minutes. Based on his testimony, police issued a warrant for Katie Strawbridge and Travis Strawbridge’s arrest.

Katie and Travis Strawbridge are facing eight counts of kidnapping, felony 1 charges with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines each; eight counts of false imprisonment, felony 2 offenses with a maximum possible sentence of 10 years imprisonment and fines of $25,000 each; two counts of endangering the welfare of children, a felony 3 charge with a maximum possible sentence of seven years imprisonment and a fine of $15,000; 10 counts of simple assault, a misdemeanor 1 charge which carries a maximum possible sentence of five years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000; 60 counts of endangering the welfare of children, also misdemeanor 1 charges; and three counts of recklessly endangering another person, misdemeanor 2 charges with a maximum possible sentence of two years imprisonment and fines of $5,000 each.

If convicted of all charges, the pair face a combined maximum possible sentence of 610 years imprisonment and combined fines of $1,145,000.

Both are currently confined to Venango County Prison after being unable to post bail of $75,000. A preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Andrew Fish, of Oil City, is scheduled for Wednesday, at 8:30 a.m.

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  • SSDD posted at 4:05 pm on Sat, Jun 29, 2019.

    SSDD Posts: 40

    Rusty Shackleford, I was being facetious. I’m making light of how invasive Jahoba and others demand the authorities to be. So yes, I was “kidding you”. r/woosh We don’t need more police. Only a frightened of everything individual would jump to that conclusion. The book should be thrown at both these abusers. I went to school with them both, and even back then it was obvious something like this would’ve had a higher probability of occurring. Sadly, that’s the one thing Titusville has too many of, people like these abusers in this article. Need for more cops? No, it’s a familial issue. Too many families with a generational alcoholic problem and through that often times it becomes the redneck family that becomes abusive to their own and others. People need to change their behavior, that’s where it starts and ends.

  • Former resident posted at 11:28 am on Sun, Jun 23, 2019.

    Former resident Posts: 1

    As a former abused child I would always take a child's word first. Not to say it shouldn't be verified but always give them the benefit of the doubt. We don't usually say anything for fear of retaliation. We wait until someone finds out and then we feel freer to speak up. I went thru years of abuse at the hands of an older sibling and I still suffer the after effects to this day. I am in my 60's.

  • Noahs Bark posted at 9:11 am on Fri, Jun 21, 2019.

    Noahs Bark Posts: 118

    Breaking News: Wait for it... wait for it... Titusville to hire more cops!

  • minarchist posted at 8:41 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2019.

    minarchist Posts: 16

    IF, and that's a big if, this actually happened the way it has been reported, how exactly would more cops have prevented this, Noah's Bark? Are there any situations that you don't think loads of police are the answer to? Breaking news: allergic man stung by bees hospitalized. Noah's answer: more cops! Breaking news: Boy grounded after refusing to eat meatloaf. Noah's answer: more cops! Breaking news: local woman jaywalks. Noah's answer: more cops! Breaking news: local teen breaks a nail. Noah's answer: you guessed it, more cops!

  • RustyShakleford posted at 7:40 am on Mon, Jun 17, 2019.

    RustyShakleford Posts: 1

    I find it interesting that there is just the assumption of guilt and calls for more police powers - including looking in peoples windows (are you kidding me?). It is very possible that this happened, it is also very possible that this is just a troubled kid looking to punish his parents - by his own admission he was the only one treated this way. Unfortunately they have all been indited in the court of public opinion so it really does not matter at this point. This is an unfortunate situation and hopefully the courts will sort it out. Given my experience with the foster care and adoption system I do not hold out a lot of hope for that. Ultimately though it seems like the community - and the churches if they were actually doing their "job" - should be rallying around ALL the members of this family and trying to help them navigate this terrible situation. That would do far more good than expanding police powers to peeping toms.

  • Jahoba posted at 7:23 am on Mon, Jun 17, 2019.

    Jahoba Posts: 240

    That is a tasteless comment. For shame STDD.

  • Noahs Bark posted at 9:57 pm on Fri, Jun 14, 2019.

    Noahs Bark Posts: 118

    If we had more police this could have been averted. It’s too bad state law lets them keep their other 4 children at home. What a sad situation.


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