MIAMI – (CBS4) – One of the two parents accused of making their daughter eat, sleep and use the bathroom outside their home for the past eight years accepted a guilty plea Monday.
During a court hearing, Philipe Mathieu pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect/no great harm and will serve three years probation without a conviction on his record. The child’s living conditions became known on May of 2010.
The father of the teen girl says he, too, was also a victim of his wife’s odd behavior. Neighbors say they had seen the signs of abuse but did nothing.
Mathieu’s wife Sherrine Mathieu faces tougher charges including more than 100 counts of child neglect. Police say it was Sherrine who coerced the family to live in an old car in front of their home with their daughter who is now 17 years old and living with a foster family.
According to investigators Mathieu would sleep in an old car in front of their home with their daughter. They would bathe in the backyard with a hose, eat outside and go to the bathroom outside.
Property records show the home on the 6300 block of Northwest 1st Court is owned by Philipe Mathieu. Mathieu purchased the four-bedroom, two-bath home in 2001.
Police say Philipe Mathieu had urged his wife to let them sleep in their duplex, but she would refuse and he did not want to upset her. They also said that one side of the duplex was very dirty and had one bed. The other half of duplex was cleaner, police said, but had no bed.
Police say the family would tell Department of Children & Families workers that the child slept on the one bed inside the duplex.
Inside, police found plastic bags that the family apparently used to defecate in and then clean out and reuse.
Police say this girl was crying out for help. At one point she tried to get into physical fights with her mother, and at another point she ran away hoping police would save her.
DCF had been to the home multiple times and alerted police about the family’s living conditions, but wouldn’t say more.
Neighbors heard the commotion for years, but did nothing.
The daughter is allowed to have unsupervised visits with her father, his attorney Jordan Lewin said.