Three children—a 19-year-old girl, A.; a 9-year-old girl, B.; and a 7-year-old boy, C.*—were physically and sexually abused by their parents, Arthur and Jenny Peterman. The two youngest children were homeschooled.
Arthur Peterman began sexually abusing A. daily when she was four years old. He also regularly sexually abused B., who told police “it happened because he thought she was his wife.” The sexual abuse of B. occurred in front of C. and in front of Jenny Peterman, who did nothing to stop it. Peterman also watched pornography in front of his children. Both parents physically abused all three children, and when C. was rescued he had cuts and burns on his body. Arthur Peterman bragged about burning C. with his methamphetamine pipe. B. tested positive for methamphetamines when she was rescued. The children reported being starved as punishment. Though the children attended school at some point, “police said both children were regularly kept home from school, and a witness said the children had not completed a full year of school yet”; Jenny Peterman claimed to be homeschooling the children, but “couldn’t show police any books because they were “put up.”” A family member reported regularly delivering food because the Petermans did not have food or hot water in their home. The children were instructed not to tell anyone about the abuse.
The abuse came to light in April 2018 when someone requested a wellness check on the children and authorities discovered them in filthy condition. The children were removed from the home and later revealed the extent of the abuse in interviews. Arthur Peterman was charged with statutory rape, child molestation, child abuse, and child endangerment, among other charges. Jenny Peterman was charged with child abuse and child endangerment.
*Pseudonymous initials used for clarity.
Date: April 2018
Location: Kansas City, Missouri