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Couple avoid jail in boy’s abuse

A couple caring for a young boy who told investigators he was being tied up like “Jesus on a cross” and beaten were given a suspended prison sentence in Allen Superior Court after admitting to Class D felony neglect charges.

Lee Rager, 47, and Diana Haley, 35, were each charged with Class C felony neglect of a dependent. Haley was also charged with battery and criminal confinement after the boy told a teacher he was being abused in their home. He said Haley beat him with a belt, tied him to a bed and locked him in his room.

But in court documents filed in recent months – that were leading up to a pair of trials that were to have occurred this week – the couple, who live in the 11300 block of Twin Creeks Drive, argued the boy had a history of self-harm and claims of abuse, as well as defecating and urinating in inappropriate places.

They alleged that those claims by the child were what led to his placement in their custody.

Allen County prosecutors amended the charges to include the lesser charge of Class D felony neglect.

On Thursday, Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck sentenced Haley after she pleaded guilty. On Tuesday, Allen County Senior Judge Robert Schmoll sentenced Rager after his plea.

The pair were each sentenced to three years in prison, but that time was ordered suspended and to be served on probation, according to court documents.