Teen beaten, locked in bathroom for weeks allegedly by father, stepmom

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on February 10, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 10 at 8:54 PM

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PHOENIX -- Police in Phoenix are investigating what appears to be a case of child abuse involving a teenage girl who was allegedly kept locked in a bathroom off and on for months.

The girl escaped and went to the police. Now her father, Scott Bass, and her stepmother, Andrea Gould Bass, are behind bars on charges of child abuse, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

The 14-year-old girl told police her father and stepmother locked her in a bathroom with no running water and kept her there for about two months. She said it was punishment for being irresponsible and stealing food.

The girl said that while she was confined, she was fed every one or two days, but not enough to keep her from being hungry.

According to the police report, the teen was forced to exercise to the point of exhaustion. The girl was also allegedly beaten with belts and metal rods and pulled up by her hair if she stopped.

The teen managed to escape on Jan. 24 by making her way through an old linen closet into an attic crawlspace and then down into the house. Her parents were not home at the time.

The girl told police she rode her bike to a movie theater where an elderly couple gave her $50. She said she then rode to 44th Street and Thomas Road where she used the money to buy clothes, food, water and a backpack. She eventually ended up at a Scottsdale Starbucks where she asked an employee to call the police.

When officers went to the girl's home in the area of 27th Avenue and Durango Street, they said Bass did not realize his daughter was gone.

An officer took a look at the bathroom where the girl said everything happened and saw a five-gallon bucket partially filled with urine. There also were empty food cans and a blanket made into a bed. The officer described the room as "dilapidated" and said it had been locked from the outside.

According to court paperwork, Bass, 33, indicated that the room was the victim's room.

Police said Bass admitted he locked up his daughter because she cheated on a home-school test and stole food from the kitchen. He reportedly told police the girl had been "grounded" to her room off and on since Christmas.

Andrea Bass, however, denied knowing that the girl was locked up. She reportedly told police the teen had not been eating or participating with the family for the past several months.

Court paperwork shows that Andrea Bass, 31, has a history of domestic violence and kidnapping. According to that paperwork, Child Protective Services in California removed children after the alleged exorcism of a child and a child who was kept outside the home for months. Police said Andrea Bass told them she had 15 prior reports with Child Protective Services.

Doctors have examined the teen. They said she is in the 25th percentile for her weight and 50th percentile for her height.

According to court paperwork, this is not the first time the teen has been locked up. She told police that when her family lived in an apartment in Glendale, she was forced to sleep outside on the patio for months. She also said she was locked in a bathroom for a week and in a closet for a week. Police said Andrea Bass admitted to locking the girl in the bathroom and closet at that apartment, as well as locking her outside for a week during the summer.

Police said there were four other children living in the home at 27th Avenue and Durango Street. They are now in CPS custody.

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