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Waukegan Man Accused Of Locking Daughter In Basement Found Fit To Stand Trial

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Waukegan man accused of locking his 10-year-old daughter in the basement for several months has been declared fit to stand trial, after undergoing nearly two months of evaluation and treatment.

Randy Swopes, 48, and his wife, Katherine, were charged in July with child endangerment and unlawful restraint for keeping their daughter locked in the basement. Prosecutors have said the girl was forced to sleep in the basement, to eat at a toddler table, to shower with a bucket, and to use a training potty as a toilet.

They allegedly claimed they believed she was possessed by a demon. Their 21-year-old son said his parents don't deserve to be behind bars. He said his parents felt the 10-year-old was threatening the rest of the family; that she had written letters and threatened to kill the rest of the family.

swopes child endangerment
Randy Swopes, 48, and Katherine Swopes, 49, are being held on unlawful restraint and child endangerment charges in Lake County Jail, the father on a $750,000 bond and the mother on a $150,000 bond.

In November, a judge declared Randy Swopes unfit to stand trial, and ordered him held in a secure mental health center in Elgin for evaluation and treatment. The Illinois Departmetn of Public Health has since found he is now fit to stand trial.

Katherine Swopes, 49, was released from custody in August, and was ordered to have no contact with her husband, her daughter, or the other children. All four children are in protective custody with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The Swopes' 10-year-old daughter had limited contact with her three siblings, ages 15, 13, and 7. The gender of those children is not being released. The children are now in the care of DCFS.

DCFS said they have had at least five encounters with the family since the 1990s. The agency first had contact with the couple in 1994 in downstate Illinois. They underwent five months of counseling for abuse allegations regarding two of their three children.

In 2006, the family was investigated for medical neglect for refusing treatment for their son based on religious reasons.

Two years later, the family again was investigated for refusing medical treatment for their children for religious reasons. Randy Swopes allegedly used thread and glue to stitch the wound of his 14-year-old son, resulting from a health condition.

He was charged with aggravated battery, and later agreed to a plea deal that sentenced him to 24 months of probation and 250 hours of public service.

All eight of their children at the time were placed in foster care for "medical neglect and physical abuse."

By 2011, the couple had completed reunification counseling, passed both supervised and unsupervised visits, and were granted the return of their five youngest children. The three oldest, who were in their late teens at the time, chose to remain in foster care.

Randy Swopes is listed on the Illinois State Police Violent Offender Against Youth Registry, for his 2008 arrest.

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