Father of 11 pleads guilty to neglect

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. --- The father of 11 children found living in a shack without food, running water or electricity pleaded guilty Wednesday.

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Jeremy Long is led into the courtroom in Waynesboro, Ga. He has been in jail since he was arrested last July.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Jeremy Long is led into the courtroom in Waynesboro, Ga. He has been in jail since he was arrested last July.

Jeremy Long, 38, admitted in Burke County Superior Court that he was guilty of five counts of second-degree cruelty to children and four counts of failure to educate.

Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. accepted the plea deal for three years in prison followed by 10 years on probation.

Mr. Long has been in jail, unable to make bond, since his arrest last July 31, when law enforcement officers found his children and wife, Christine, living in squalor.

Assistant District Attorney Kristi Connell said Wednesday that the children were victims of the worst neglect anyone in her office has ever heard about or seen.

When found, the children ranged in age from 1 to 18. The four-room shack had no food and no beds for the children, who had no proper clothes or shoes.

Two of the children had never worn shoes. None had been vaccinated or given dental care, and the younger children suffered from malnutrition.

The children never attended school, nor did they receive home-schooling, Ms. Connell said. The teens are just now learning to read, she said.

As bad as the neglect was, Ms. Connell said, there is no evidence of any sexual or physical abuse, despite what Mrs. Long claims.

Mrs. Long, who faces the same neglect charges, has pleaded not guilty. She is free on bond pending trial. In her complaint for divorce, she blamed the neglect on Mr. Long.

Ms. Connell said prosecutors were willing to negotiate a short prison term for Mr. Long because he was taking responsibility for the children's neglect. He understood that the plea would spare the children the experience of testifying in court and being forced to take one parent's side, Ms. Connell said.

Assistant Public Defender Alexia Davis said Mr. Long tried to provide for his family, but there were periods when he could not earn enough money and he didn't believe in taking public assistance.

Mr. Long was home-schooled and thought it would be better than public schools for his children, Ms. Davis said. His wife was supposed to be in charge of the schooling, Ms. Davis said.

Under conditions set by Judge Blanchard, if Mr. Long regains custody of the children, he must remain in the Augusta Judicial Circuit area while on probation. He must also perform 100 hours of community service.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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sassygalady30
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sassygalady30 06/25/09 - 01:34 am
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she is just as to blame as

she is just as to blame as him.as a mother u would take care of ur kids any way u can they both need more then 3 years

sassygalady30
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sassygalady30 06/25/09 - 01:37 am
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3 years hes been there since

3 years hes been there since july last year so he walk soon to finish messing up theses kids life he needs life so does she

sassygalady30
1
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sassygalady30 06/25/09 - 01:38 am
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3 years how many years did

3 years how many years did these kids go through this give him 3 times that

trucksareforgirlz
0
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trucksareforgirlz 06/25/09 - 05:53 am
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Both parents are grossly

Both parents are grossly unfit to raise children. Apparently the husband and wife would rather starve their children vs taking welfare to feed and clothe them. This he said/she said volleying is ridiculous. They are BOTH responsible for ensuring that their children are fed, clothed, and educated. And not only that, they are responsible for using birth control, to include abstinence if they refuse to use other birth control methods. The USA is not a third-world country, and these children should NEVER have been"stuck" living with these two idiots. God bless these children, and may they receive the education and nurturing they need to succeed in life and not repeat the sins of their parents.

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 06/25/09 - 06:11 am
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Problem is, the parents will

Problem is, the parents will be out in three years, but the kids have a life sentence of disability which will be funded by the tax payers because of parental neglect. Hopefully some will have a miraculous recovery and become productive members of society rather than repeating their parents history.

DonH
13
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DonH 06/25/09 - 06:34 am
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With two able-bodied adults

With two able-bodied adults in the family, and all the churches and social welfare available, I cannot understand how those parents could bring children into this world and not properly care for them. Responsibility and reality should have taken precedence over pride. The wife waited way too long to seek help. Well, now the state will step in to do what these parents should have done. The children should not suffer for the sin of their parents.

redapples
681
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redapples 06/25/09 - 06:42 am
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The mother should have also

The mother should have also been charged. I find it hard to believe that she has spent her entire life living secluded in the woods and knew of no other life for her children. Given that, she is just as guilty and should be charged accordingly. Neither of them deserve to raise their children and hopefully they will all be placed somewhere in order that they have a chance at a normal life!

life_is_a_gift
0
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life_is_a_gift 06/25/09 - 09:08 am
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The sad thing about this

The sad thing about this story is that the children will likely be separated and possibly not ever see one another again.

teapot
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teapot 06/25/09 - 10:25 am
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Both are guilty, both should

Both are guilty, both should be punished & rehabilitated. The children and the taxpayers will pay for these "parents" crimes for many years to come. Let the parents be put to work to assist the taxpayers in "footing the bill".

sharpshooter
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sharpshooter 06/25/09 - 10:42 am
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Without me knowing the full

Without me knowing the full story and history of the case, I feel the entire family just needs some financial help and social assistance. To imply they multiplied just to abuse their children, is really ignorant in some of the comments displayed. Where is the compassion, care, and consideration in Augusta? The case stems from one year ago? Now there are many people in similar conditions of poverty. Poverty is not just a financial term, it is usually coupled with other social problems. They are guilty for not milking the system for eleven children and two adults? Shame on the court system which missed the point and solution.

CoastalDawg
125
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CoastalDawg 06/25/09 - 11:22 am
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It is easy for individuals to

It is easy for individuals to sit at their computers and slam this couple and their children. What is NOT understandable is where was support from other family members, grandparents, uncles, neighbors? Although this family was secreted away in some sense SOMEONE had to know that they existed and that those children weren't being properly reared. There is plenty of blame to be placed on the parents for certain, but didn't society as a whole fail them? It has been said that the father didn't want to accept "charity" - well there are ways to help people without making them feel less than worthy people. And the landlord who supposedly hadn't visited the place and didn't know they were living there - hmmmm...Gotta wonder about that one. This is a terrible situation, no doubt - but who is caring for the children now? This sounds like a story from a third world country but it happened right under the noses of people in Burke County and nobody did anything...How sad...Whether the father received the "appropriate" prison term isn't even really the question right now - he surely can't provide ANYTHING from prison.

corgimom
38705
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corgimom 06/25/09 - 02:55 pm
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Both of them are nuts. And

Both of them are nuts. And you can not believe in public assistance all you want, but to know that your kids are suffering and do NOTHING about it- that's just unconscionable. I'd beg at the side of the road before I would let any child of mine go hungry. And then you keep churning them out, and churning them out- that is just plain immoral. How in the hell do you have a family and NOT DO ANYTHING when your kids can't read and that two of your kids never wore a pair of shoes? He sounds like one of those crazy nut religious and/or militia wackjobs and she does too.

billhikock
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billhikock 06/25/09 - 05:34 pm
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Was not the house they were

Was not the house they were living in belonged to an Augusta comissioner????

mable8
2
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mable8 06/25/09 - 09:42 pm
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At least the dad accepted

At least the dad accepted responsibility; mom should do the same instead of putting all the blame on him. It took both parents to put the children in this plight, so they are equally culpable. The object of CPS is to make every attempt to reunite the family as opposed to permanent foster cere--and that is how it should be. With training in parenting skills and family living, perhaps dad would be the better parent to have custody; mom seems not to want to accept her role and should not regain custody.

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