(CBS News) — Theaccused of will be in court Friday for a procedural hearing. For the first time, lawyers representing their seven adult children are revealing how their recovery is going, and what their dreams are for the future.
The children were rescued from a home in Perris, California, nearly six weeks ago. A source tells CBS News the younger six are split between two foster homes. The seven adult siblings are in a nearby medical center, where they’re being exposed to everything from Harry Potter movies to iPads.READ MORE: South Bay BART Extension Funding Dropped From $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package
As the legal case againstmoves forward, the children they allegedly imprisoned for years are moving on with their lives and making decisions on their own for the first time, reports CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal.
“That in itself is a new experience for them, understanding that they do have rights and they do have a voice,” said attorney Jack Osborn.
Osborn and Caleb Mason represent the older siblings. They say the staff at the Corona Medical Center has converted part of the hospital to make it more comfortable for the seven. They set up an outdoor area where they can play sports and exercise. Prosecutors say the siblings spent years in captivity, sometimes chained to their beds and severely underfed. But now they’re free to make their own choices.
“That’s a big deal, deciding what they’re going to read, deciding what they’re going to wear, these are all things that are decisions they make every day that are new and empowering,” Osborn said.READ MORE: EDD Fraud: Feds Indict 2 In State Prison Scam To Rip Off EDD Benefits
“They talk about how warm and loving these kids are and so appreciative,” said Corona mayor Karen Spiegel, who works closely with the siblings’ nurses. “Some of them have never really seen a toothbrush before. … Things that we just take for granted mean so much to these kids.”
The older and younger siblings have not yet reunited, but they communicate using Skype. In the short term, the attorneys say the older children simply want to go the beach, the mountains and the movies. But over the longer term, they want to attend college and pursue careers.
“I just want you to understand just what special individuals they are,” Osborn said. “They all have their own aspirations and their own interests and now they may have an opportunity to address those, which is really exciting.”
The couple has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. If it does go to trial, the Riverside County district attorney reportedly says the siblings would testify.MORE NEWS: Suspect Arrested In November Vallejo Murder Of Adrienne Florez