Trial Set for Couple Accused of Starving Children

Trial Set for Couple Accused of Starving Children

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A five-week trial has been set for Jan. 5 for a Utah County couple accused of beating and starving their adopted Russian son and daughter. Defense attorneys want to call more than 100 witnesses in the trial of Reed and Teresa Hansen of Saratoga Springs.,

Defense attorney Philip Danielson said Tuesday that more than 30 expert witnesses will attest to the condition of the children before the alleged abuse and what the parents may have done. The others will be either character or fact witnesses testifying how the Hansens acted as parents.

"We've got a long way to go," Danielson said. "This is a very complex case."

Fourth District Judge Anthony Schofield set a Dec. 3 pretrial conference and the Jan. 5 trial date.

The state has charged the Hansens with three counts of child abuse and neglect, two of which are second-degree felonies and one class-A misdemeanor.

Prosecutors allege the couple withheld food for up to several days from the 4-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl as punishment.

In February 2002, Teresa Hansen removed the boy from a Seattle hospital without authorization after doctors put the child on a 72-hour administrative hold. The boy weighed only 32 pounds and had unexplained bruises and lacerations all over his body, according to court documents.

The state removed all six children from the Hansen home. Three of the Hansens' children are in foster care, Danielson said. The other three children returned home to the Hansens and have been living with them for several months. Teresa has since given birth to a seventh child.

In May 2001, Teresa Hansen pleaded no contest to a previous charge of child abuse, a class-A misdemeanor, according to court records.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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