Marian Clark and Robert Boyko escaped spending time behind bars for keeping their children in squalid and unsafe conditions in a Fort Wayne hotel room.
But they won’t be able to see those children for at least six years, under the terms of a plea agreement accepted Thursday by Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull.
The couple drew extensive media attention after their seven children – ranging in age from a week to 14 years old – were found living in squalor. They brought legal scrutiny on themselves when they called Neighborhood Code Enforcement to report the lack of heat in their motel home at Hallmark Inn, 3730 E. Washington Blvd.
When code officers got there, they called police after finding the children in "deplorable" conditions inside a urine-soaked room with food strewn about. Some of the children were zip-tied to chairs and car seats. None was dressed appropriately for the cold and snow, according to court documents.
The children were eating food from the floor, which was also being used as a bathroom by two cats and a dog.
Some of the children had red feet and hands after having been outside in an unheated van with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees. An infant girl was taken to the hospital and put in intensive care, suffering from hypothermia and jaundice.
Clark, 41, and Boyko, 42, each pleaded guilty to seven counts of neglect of a dependent. They were sentenced to a total of six years in prison, but all that time was ordered suspended and they were each given four years on probation.
The couple had little to say Thursday morning, though both asked for a delay in their sentencing because they were stressed. Boyko said he didn’t deserve to be kept from his children since he has not abused them.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, they may not have any contact with their children for six years.
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards assured the court she will not modify the terms of the no-contact order for as long as she remains prosecutor.
For more on this story, see Friday’s edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Friday.