Kenny and Kelly Fry, a couple from Iowa, pleaded guilty to child endangerment after being accused of starving and abusing two Black children they have adopted. Despite their inhumane treatments to the young children, they were only sentenced to two months of probation.
Kenny and Kelly, who were 42 and 40-years old respectively, adopted a 10-year old girl and an 11-year old boy from Ghana years ago. According to a medical examination conducted in February 2018, the brother and sister were malnourished.
Moreover, investigators said the two children shared a bedroom where they were forced to sleep on a small plastic mat with a blanket. They were left there alone for several hours, not allowed to leave. An alarm attached to their door would alert the Frys if they try to leave, even for the bathroom. They were only given a plastic bucket to use as a toilet. They also punished the two children with physical exercise, including squats and push-ups.
It was freezing cold one day when a concerned neighbor heard the young boy and girl pleading to let them back in the house. She then notified the police. Apparently, the children were left outside for about 45 minutes.
“They were knocking on the door. It sounded like they were crying, ‘Let me in,’” the neighbor said in a statement. “I cannot say exactly what they were saying, but I could hear crying out. I just thought, ‘Something is not right.’ Just knowing it was so cold outside and those poor kids were locked out.”
The adoptive parents have five biological children who weren’t treated abusively like the two adopted Black children, whom they said they only punish for their bad behavior.
Kenny and Kelly were both found guilty of two counts each of child endangerment, which is considered an aggravated misdemeanor that is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,250.
However, the couple was merely sentenced to probation. Clarke County District Judge Dustria Relph, who described the crime only as “poor parenting skills,” ordered them to just serve 100 hours of community service and pay $12,500 in fines.
“This is about a young couple who got in over their heads in a failed adoption, made poor decisions, and didn’t get help when they needed it, at least not the right help,” Relph wrote in her decision. “The defendants made some serious mistakes and, even though they may not be wealthy, I believe they should pay a hefty debt to society even if those payments take several years.”