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Court Decides Custody Of Girl Forced To Wear Diaper

ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) -- Outside the Anoka County Courthouse, Justin Canfield spoke of the outrage he felt when he learned what his ex-wife allegedly did to their 12-year-old daughter.

"I was devastated," he said. "I didn't know what to think."

On Monday, Stephanie Broten and her boyfriend, Darnell Landrum, were arrested after allegedly shaving the girl's head and forcing her to run outside an apartment complex in front of others wearing a diaper.

The couple is charged with malicious punishment of a child. On Thursday, the two appeared in juvenile court for an emergency protection case hearing. The girl and her three siblings were removed from the home and placed in protective care.

"They need to know that they're safe, that they're going to be loved and these kind of acts are not going to happen anymore," Canfield said.

Broten and Landrum told investigators their actions were a form of punishment for the girl's bad grades. According to a Child in Need of Protection or Services Petition (CHIPS) filed on behalf of the girl and her three siblings, Monday's incident was the second time that her head was shaved as punishment.

The petition goes on to suggest that since April 18, the child's 14-year-old brother has been sleeping  on the floor and eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches -- also because of poor grades.

Landrum also told investigators that he deserves credit for changing the children's lives for the better. He added that he and Broten get a lot of their parenting ideas from TV shows like "Scared Straight."

"It's almost too difficult to put into words," Canfield adds.

On Thursday, Anoka County Juvenile Court Judge Sean Gibbs set strict visitation arrangements for the couple, and ordered them to undergo psychological exams. The couple declined comment as the two left court.

Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said the CHIPS hearing will ultimately decide where the children will be safest.

"During that 30 day window, they'll take a look at and see where the child should be, what services should the child receive as a result of what has occurred to the child," he said.

Judge Gibbs set June 8 as the date for the final disposition hearing.

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