A Washington C.H. couple has been indicted by a Fayette County grand jury for an alleged pattern of cruel and physical abuse of their four children.
Joshua Lee Smith, 37, is facing a second-degree felonious assault charge and eight counts of endangering children, all felonies of the third degree. Ashley Smith, 32, is also charged with eight third-degree felony counts of endangering children.
On Aug. 2, Washington Police Department officers responded to a residence within the city to assist Children Services (Fayette County) in removing four children from the home. Officers were made aware that the children had allegedly been abused, with one of the children possibly receiving serious physical harm, according to reports.
The Children Services investigation began after the children had placed a letter in a neighbor’s mailbox advising that their father, Joshua Lee Smith, physically abused them.
“Once speaking to the children separately all children claimed to be physically abused by their father,” a police report stated. “(One child) told Children Services that her dad pulled her by the hair so hard that he ripped her hair out. She also had two faint bruises on her temple where he slammed her face.”
The report further states: “They advised that (another child) gets it the worst and further advised the father stomps on his head daily, (the child) also has bruising on his waist that wraps partially around his body that appears to be from a belt. (The child) further advised that his dad was cutting a watermelon at which time he got mad at (the child) and stabbed him in the hand with the knife. He then advised that he had three stitches in his hand and his parents made him tell the medical staff it was an accident while playing.”
According to reports, the children also said the only food they are allowed to eat is Ramen noodles “and can only have real food when they are good.” They said they stand in the corner while the parents sit at the table and eat real food.
“The children also advised they are grounded for the rest of the summer and must stand in the corner from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed with no TV and are not allowed to talk,” the report states.
It’s also alleged that while standing in the corner, the two smaller kids are forced to hold up cans and the two older ones must hold up jugs.
After they were in the custody of Children Services, the children reportedly said that their father puts hot sauce in the Ramen noodles and “puts something else on their tongue that’s hot which in turn makes them sick. They advised they must hold the hot substance in their mouth for a minute or they will get physically abused.”
Ashley Smith was arraigned Monday in Fayette County Common Pleas Court. Joshua Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 31.