A Pennsylvania judge threw out a planned plea agreement, lashing into a man accused of beating his children for remarking he was innocent while trying to present a guilty plea.
Charles Benjamin, 73, allegedly beat his children, who ranged in age from 2 to 6, with items like a belt and a curtain rod, causing the kids to require medical treatment, according to local news outlet the York Daily Record.
Benjamin had been set to plead guilty on Monday to charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children. However, when he was asked to explain his actions, Benjamin launched into a rambling rationalization about his actions — telling the court his children took ice cream out of the freezer and threw cereal in a toilet.
“I didn’t do anything to the children," Benjamin replied when asked if he did anything to the children he is charged with severely abusing.
This apparently set off Common Pleas Judge Harry Ness, who then refused to accept Benjamin's guilty plea in the case.
“You can’t sit here and make your story grow so you can get out of jail,” Ness said, according to the York Daily Record. “You can’t be guilty and do nothing. It doesn’t work that way.”
Benjamin was escorted out of the courtroom. His attorney indicated the case would now head to trial in a short interview with the York Daily Record following the hearing. In previous interviews, Benjamin has denied any wrongdoing.
The mother of the children, 26-year-old Janay Fountain, has already pleaded guilty to child endangerment in exchange for a sentence of 338 days to 23 months followed by five years’ probation, the Associated Press reported.
Fountain has contended Benjamin abused the children while “[she] allowed it to happen, because [she] was frightened,” according to the AP.
Benjamin's children have since been adopted into another home, according to the York Daily Record.
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