Two University of Florida scientists has been charged for keeping their children locked in cages

Police charged two University of Florida staff with child abuse for locking their children in cages at work.

After a Department of Children and Families investigation, a Gainesville Police officer responded to the home of a 35-year-old male and a 31-year-old woman around 7 p.m. Friday.

According to an arrest report acquired by USA Today, the 6-year-old told DCF that he wanted to go home because his father built a cage while his mother worked.

The child informed authorities that their toddler sister was also caged.

Police uncover “makeshift cages” for both kids at home. According to the arrest document, the officer entered the eldest child’s bedroom and saw a “large unsanded wooden enclosure” with stainless steel sliding latches on the cage door.

All sides of the cage were enclosed, save the side against the wall, which was only a couple inches away. The cage top appeared open.

DCF interviewed the boy, who said his father had built a cage for him and left him at home with both latches shut. He said he was in the cage overnight until school started at 7 a.m.

After school, his mother puts him in the cage until his father gets home. The boy said he wears “pull-ups” at night but can use the restroom during the day when not sealed.

Both parents’ welfare check remarks were removed.

The boy later told authorities that his sister was caged in the bathroom closet. A white toddler’s cot was upside down in the parent’s bathroom after the officer investigated. Here, a blanket and mattress were provided.

Nighttime placement of the child in the crib with the mattress’s metal springs right side up. The report warns that the youngster could hurt themselves by pulling on the exposed metal wiring and springs at night.

Given its weight and material, neither youngster could safely escape the container. The arrest document states that either youngster may have been injured or killed if they escaped.

“I didn’t want anyone in trouble. I didn’t want to be caged,” the boy told DCF.

UF puts both parents on administrative leave.

According to the arrest document, both parents face three felony child abuse counts, including severe child abuse and child neglect without great bodily damage.

A University of Florida official told USA Today that the biological scientists were placed on administrative leave on Monday.

By June 2019, the mother was a full-time university employee, while the father was promoted two years earlier in December 2017.

Both worked as temporary workers as grad assistants before being hired full-time, the spokesman said.