Parents accused of abusing teens appear in court

Children removed from home
Parents accused of abusing teens appear in court

A Madison man and his girlfriend accused of abusing two of their children over the past 10 years made their initial appearance in Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Kevin Knight is facing three counts of intentional child abuse causing bodily harm. He appeared in court with the children’s mother, Jacqueline Palmer, who is facing two counts of intentional child abuse and two counts of failure to act to prevent bodily harm to a child. 

The two teenage sisters at the center of the case told authorities they were beaten almost weekly in a locked basement. One of the girls even missed some school because of injuries from the alleged beatings, according to the criminal complaint.

During one of the more recent incidents, one of the girls received jewelry from a friend as a birthday gift. Knight found the jewelry, and the girl apparently didn’t have permission to have it, the complaint said.

The complaint said the girl laid face down and Knight used a pelt as punishment, hitting the girl about 12 times. The girl was then hit with an extension cord upwards of 15 times, the complaint said.

In at least one instance, the victim was whipped in the face with the extension cord, according to the complaint.

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Palmer told authorities she didn’t abuse her children. She said she was disciplining them for misbehaving, according to the complaint.

One of the children told police that Palmer, in one instance, was hitting her with an open hand and then with a closed fist all over her head, according to the complaint.

Because of the alleged crimes, Knight is also facing two felony counts of bail jumping. In court on Thursday, prosecutors asked for cash bail, citing his criminal history. Prosecutors said Knight had been arrested upwards of 20 times and is in drug court.

Knight said there’s a mix-up with someone else who shares his name. He said he is the victim in the situation.

“There’s two or three Kevin Knights in CCAP. They keep giving me his arrests — I haven’t been locked up 20 times,” Knight said.

Clearly agitated, Knight told reporters after his court hearing that he never hit his children.

“That’s not true, all those are allegations. I wish they would stop doing this to me,” Knight told reporters. “I didn’t abuse anybody, are you getting that clearly?”

Despite the request from prosecutors, Knight and Palmer were both released on signature bonds.

Four children in the home, including the alleged teenage victims, have since been removed and are in protective custody.

Knight and Palmer are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 29. 

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