Nebraska couple sentenced for locking foster child in basement
A Nebraska couple were sentenced on Friday for locking their foster child in their basement.
United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Charles Neil Parker, 39, and Krista Parker, 36, were sentenced in federal court in Omaha for multiple counts of intentional child abuse.
United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Charles Neil Parker and Krista Parker each to 72 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal prison system. After their releases from prison, Charles Neil Parker and Krista Parker will each serve an 18-month term of supervised release.
In September 2018, officers responded to a residence in Macy, Nebraska, after receiving a report that a party guest at the residence had observed a child locked in the basement. Officers located the then-nine-year-old victim in a locked utility room in the basement.
According to officials, the door to the room was secured with an eye-hook latch on the outside and had a contact alarm that sounded when the door was opened. Officers observed that the room had a concrete floor, no windows, and no ventilation. The victim had two urine-soaked blankets on the floor to sleep on. The floor and walls were also soiled with urine and feces. The officers observed two toys, an empty chip bag, and an empty soda bottle. The wall contained stick figure drawings and tally marks. The door had scratch marks dug into it on the inside.
Krista Parker was located intoxicated and asleep in another room of the house. During an interview the next day, Krista Parker first stated that the victim must have wandered into the room and gotten locked in by mistake, but later admitted to locking the victim in the room because she wanted to “have one night of fun” after a stressful week at work. Krista Parker had sent her biological children to their grandmother’s house for the night. Charles Neil Parker could not be located on the night of the report, but during a subsequent interview admitted that the Parkers locked the victim in the room sometimes due to his behavior.
The victim, who suffers from cognitive delays and is believed to be on the autism spectrum, reported that he always slept and ate in the room and was unable to leave the room to use the bathroom. The victim was identified as a foster child placed in the Parkers’ care by the Omaha Tribe Children and Family Services. At the time, Krista Parker was employed with Children and Family Services as a case aid.
Judge Rossiter described the Parkers’ treatment of the victim as “horrible” and “unforgiveable.”
United States Attorney Joe Kelly stated, “Today justice was done for one of the most vulnerable victims—a child placed with a couple who saw an opportunity to make money while continuing to exploit a child who was unable to cry out for help.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Kristi Johnson says the FBI agents who investigate violent crime in Indian Country are passionate about the tribal communities they serve. “Once the Omaha Nation Law Enforcement Services responded to the 911 call and arrested Krista Parker on local charges, the FBI immediately started investigating. Their work resulted in federal charges and today’s federal sentences against Parker and her husband.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by Omaha Nation Law Enforcement Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.