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Couple Accused Of Locking Kids In Basement.

LANCASTER, PA (NBC) -- A Pennsylvania couple faces criminal charges amid allegations that they locked five children and two disabled adults who were in their care inside the basement of their family home.

The charges, which were announced Tuesday, come nearly a year after the children, all boys who range in age from 5 to 14, and the two mentally challenged women, who are in their 50s, were found locked in the basement of Stephanie and James Dickinson's Lancaster home, according to investigators.

Police said the children and the disabled adults involved in the incident have since been placed in safe environments.

According to court documents, one of the victims was found in a cinder block room there was no light, no food, no bathroom and no ventilation.

There was only a blanket.

The others were kept in the basement, where mouse poison and prescription drugs were within easy reach, according to the documents.

The documents also stated that the children were not allowed outside except for school or church.

Police said some received little food, were forced to use a potty chair and were not allowed to bathe.

Stephanie Dickinson, 57, was arrested Tuesday and is charged with intimidation of victims or witnesses, five counts of endangering the welfare of children and seven counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Dickinson said that she is innocent.

James Dickinson, 62, was also arrested Tuesday.

He is charged with false imprisonment, five counts of endangering the welfare of children and seven counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Police also said that their investigation is ongoing.

A statement released by police Wednesday reads, "During the past eleven months, investigators have worked with a variety of other agencies to obtain information and review financial records associated with this matter. Other aspects of the investigation are on-going."

"We could have filed these charges earlier, however, this is the case of adopted children. Payments were made for the care of these people so we had to check financial transactions with other agencies. Since children were in protective custody, there's no rush to rush ahead and bring charges quickly," said Sgt. Bill Gleason.

Police said the Dickinsons received money from various agencies to care for the people in their care.

They are now trying to determine where that money went.

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Added: Sep-21-2007 
By: barnesy
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Tags: kids, locked, in, basement
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