Charges Filed Against Venango County Couple After Children Found Living in Deplorable Conditions
According to court documents, the following criminal charges were filed against 42-year-old Robert Eugene Mock and 38-year-old Lily Lovejoy, both of Franklin, in Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey’s office on July 30.
– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 2 (two counts)
According to a criminal complaint filed by Lieutenant Ashbaugh, of Sugarcreek Borough Police Department, the charges stem from an investigation into the care of two minor children who were residing in a house located on Second Avenue in Franklin (which falls within the jurisdiction of the Sugarcreek Borough).
The complaint states that on June 25, a 10-year-old boy was presented to Children’s Community Pediatrics by the maternal grandmother for wheezing and other breathing problems associated with the child’s diagnosed asthma.
The maternal grandmother reported that the children were living in filthy conditions and “the house smells so strongly of cat urine that she cannot go to the residence because it severely affects her COPD.” The maternal grandmother also stated that for an unknown reason, the parents are not giving the child his asthma medication, the complaint continues.
According to the complaint, following the visit, Dr. David Hefner reported that the child “suffered physical symptoms from medical neglect. He (was) presented to my office with significant hypoxia and bronchitis that could have been prevented by giving him his medication.”
In addition, the child was significantly underweight. Dr. Hefner suspected that this was due to the illness he was suffering, the complaint states.
After his primary exam of the child, Dr. Hefner sent the child to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital where he was admitted for three days.
A Venango County Children and Youth Services (CYS) caseworker went to the residence on June 27 and reported that from the outside of the residence, it reeked of ammonia associated with cat urine. She also stated that through the windows, she observed the residence to be littered heavily with clothing strewn all over the floor, food items and containers, garbage and broken items, according to the complaint.
The caseworker estimated there were between 20 and 25 cats in the residence.
In addition, a nine-year-old girl in the residence is reported as being a non-verbal autistic child who has no way to communicate her needs. She is also unable to take care of herself. She is reported to suffer from seizure disorders.
The complaint states that she has been exposed to prolonged neglect by the couple due to the filthy living conditions.
It is reported through CYS and documentation that the children in the residence and under the care of Mock and Lovejoy were court-ordered to be removed from the residence and to be placed with the maternal grandmother.
Documentation also indicates that at the three-week medical checkup for the child, the breathing issues were improved and the child had gained eight pounds while in the care of his grandmother, the complaint indicates.
Mock and Lovejoy were arraigned at 10:30 a.m. on August 2 with Judge Lowrey presiding.
Both defendants are currently free on $5,000.00 unsecured bail each.
Preliminary hearings are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on August 28 in Venango County Central Court in front of Judge Lowrey.
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