Mother of 11 to plead guilty to neglect

The mother of 11 children found living in an abandoned Burke County shack without food, running water or electricity is set to plead guilty Friday.


Christine D. Long pleaded not guilty after her indictment last year on 10 counts of cruelty to children and five counts of failure to provide an education for her school-age children. She is expected to change her plea to guilty in Burke County Superior Court and receive her sentence.

Her husband, Jeremy Long, pleaded guilty in June. He was sentenced to three years in prison followed by 10 years on probation.

Mrs. Long blamed the children's condition on her husband and further accused him of being an abusive man who used violence, sexual abuse and starvation to keep the family prisoners in the hovel where they were found, according to her petition for divorce.

In June, when Mr. Long pleaded guilty, however, prosecutors told the judge that there was no evidence of physical or sexual abuse.

Mrs. Long, the couple's 18-year-old daughter and 10 children who ranged in age from 16 to 9 months were found by law enforcement officers on July 31, 2008.

The children were living in a house without utilities or food; there were no beds for the children; two had never worn shoes; the younger children suffered from malnutrition; and none had been vaccinated or been seen by a dentist, The Augusta Chronicle reported. None of the children had attended school.

Although Mrs. Long contends she was also a victim, the children's accounts do not support her version of events, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

The 10 children have been living in foster care since they were found. According to a physician who specializes in neglect at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the children experienced severe and prolonged medical, physical, educational and emotional neglect, according to a prosecutors' brief that asked a judge earlier this year to keep the Department of Family and Children Services from beginning the process of returning custody to Mrs. Long.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or