A Medford couple pleaded not guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court Monday afternoon to a dozen counts of mistreatment and neglect charges related to their four young children, who were found living in filth inside their home.
Cassandra Lynn Regain wept quietly as Judge Tim Barnack read the 23-year-old mother's charges: three counts of criminal mistreatment and three counts of child neglect. He set her bail at $1 million and ordered she have no contact with the children, who range in age from 6 months to 4 years. JeramyAllen Hon, 29, later also appeared via closed-circuit video from the Jackson County Jail. Hon faces the same charges, and bail was set at the same amount.
Hon asked Barnack to release him so that he could return to work.
"I'm going to lose my job if I don't get out," Hon said.
Barnack told Hon he wouldn't be released without posting the required bail and would have to wear an electric-monitoring device if he were released.
Hon's family members sat through the arraignment proceedings. Some spoke loudly from the gallery as Barnack read the court's orders and set a hearing date.
When Hon's younger brother, Justin Hon, stood and shouted "I love you, brother," Barnack told the man to sit down and be quiet, then later chastised him for being disruptive in court.
"You're this close to me tossing you in jail for contempt," Barnack said.
Justin Hon and other family members declined to comment on the case when approached outside the courtroom.
Medford police on Thursday responded to a home in the 2800 block of Anita Circle to an anonymous report of four children believed to have been severely neglected. Officers said they discovered the four children had been locked in a room for hours at a time. The children had urinated and defecated in a heater vent because they did not have access to a restroom, police said.
The infant had significant diaper rash, and the other children showed clear signs of neglect, police said.
Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said detectives were appalled at the "horrible conditions" where the children were living and said they were not in good health.
The children were locked in a room where the window also was locked, Hansen said, declining to speculate on the couple's reasoning for locking the children in the room and not providing them access to a bathroom.
The children were taken into custody by Department of Human Services workers and are now in a safe environment, he said.
Barnack set a preliminary hearing for Regain and Hon at 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.