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Couple Accused Of Torturing Kids By Rubbing Hot Pepper On Genitals And Other ‘Horrific’ Abuse

Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga also rubbed hot sauce into the face of one of girlfriend Sabrina Emerick's children and held a pillow over his face as a form of punishment, according to police in Greenville, South Carolina.

By Jill Sederstrom

A South Carolina woman and her boyfriend have been accused of “horrific” child abuse, including rubbing a hot pepper on a child’s genitals to punish him for peeing on the couch while he was asleep.

Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga, 37, and Sabrina Irene Emerick, 25, were charged with unlawful neglect of a child and two counts of cruelty to children after investigators allegedly uncovered a string of cruel and unusual punishments used on Emerick’s two children, ages 5 and 7, dating back to September 2017, according to a statement from the Greenville Police Department.

Saladaga has also been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

In addition to allegedly rubbing the hot pepper on a child's genitals, police have accused Saladaga of rubbing hot sauce all over one of the children's face, eyes, and mouth, causing him to vomit, holding a pillow over a child’s face until he was unable to breath and shooting a child in the foot with a BB gun.

They also allege that he hit one of the children all over his body and forced him to take hot and cold showers.

Robert Saladaga and Sabrina Emerick

"Investigators have learned that each of these abuses were forms of discipline for misbehaving at school or wetting the couch while sleeping," Greenville Police Lt. Jason Rampey said at a briefing, according to Greenville News. "From what we know, the mother did not participate in the abuse, but she was aware of it and allowed the children to be placed at unreasonable risk."

Investigation into the couple’s activities began in March 2018 after police were contacted by the Department of Social Services.

“Heinous crimes against children are some of the most difficult cases we investigate,” Rampey said in the police statement. “The horrific stories of abuse endured by these children are sickening and reprehensible. As such, the children have been removed from this abusive environment for their safety and well-being.”

Saladaga was given a $25,000 bond and was released on Friday under the condition that he wear an electronic monitoring device and have no contact with the children, police said.

Emerick is also out of jail after posting a $10,000 bond.