Updated 01/10/2013 05:00 PM
Two People Accused of Beating Two Children Plead Not Guilty
Two people are in custody, accused of severely beating two children.
Prosecutors call the injuries in this case horrific. It involves two children, horribly scarred, from prolonged abuse.
Now, their alleged abusers are behind bars.
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Prosecutor Sara Van Strydonck says the pictures of the abuse were difficult to look at, and she's handled dozens and dozens of child abuse cases.
"Physical abuse cases are always difficult, especially when you can see the injuries on the children," Van Strydonck said.
Nakenya Cooper-Jenkins is facing four counts of assault and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Terrance Strong is facing 11 counts, that also include assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Prosecutors say Cooper-Jenkins and Strong repeatedly whipped the children with electrical cords and belts, even a metal grilling spatula, according to the felony complaint.
The 12-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy had welts and open wounds from the beatings on their backs and their legs. The girl is also said to have had a broken wrist that may require surgery.
The charges in this case are from incidents that happened in December, but prosecutors say the abuse seems to have gone much longer than that. In court Thursday, Van Strydonck told the judge that the children were often bound, stripped naked and beaten.
Another child in the home, an infant, was not injured.
Police say the abuse first came to light after someone at the children's school, mandated by law to report abuse, contacted Child Protective Services. That person brought the children to a hospital, where they were examined, and that's when Greece Police began their investigation.
Cooper-Jenkins and Strong were arrested December 10th.
"Anything dealing with children are the most difficult cases," said Lt. John Henderson of the Greece Police Department. "We all relate to having kids or knowing kids and how helpless and vulnerable they are. Anytime they're taken advantage of or assaulted, it really affects us."
Both Strong and Cooper-Jenkins pleaded not guilty. Cooper-Jenkins' mother was in court but did not want to comment. Defense attorney Michael Guarino also did not want to make a statement.
Guarino asked Judge Joanne Winslow to release his client because she is also six-months pregnant. The judge maintained the bail that was set by a lower court: $10,000 cash, $25,000 bond. Strong is being held without bail.
Judge Winslow issued orders of protection for both of the children
"Everybody in the community needs to open their eyes to child abuse; that it does happen and it happens everyday," said Van Strydonck.
Meanwhile, the children are getting the help they need.
"The children are thriving. They're in foster care. These foster parents are remarkable, remarkable human beings," Van Strydonck said.
Cooper-Jenkins and Strong are due back in court on February 26th.