A 29-year-old California man charged with multiple counts of torture and child abuse -- some allegedly committed against his own kids -- has denied the claims in a jailhouse interview, saying "I'm not a monster."
Jonathan Allen was arrested along with his partner, Ina Rogers, 30, after 10 children were found living in squalid conditions in their home in Fairfield, north of San Francisco.
According to the authorities, the children, aged four months to 12 years old, were regularly waterboarded, shot at with crossbows and had scalding water poured over them.
Allen, interviewed by KGO-TV from jail, where he is being held on bail of $5.2 million, denied any abuse occurred.
"I didn't do what they said I did," said Allen, who is the biological father of some of the children.
"I'm not perfect, no one is perfect," he said. "But I am not an animal, I'm not a torturer and I'm not a monster. I'm just not."
He said the evidence will prove that he did not abuse the children and expressed hope that he would be able to "reunite my family."
Allen has been charged with seven counts of torture and nine counts of child abuse.
The abuse was detailed in a motion filed by prosecutors to increase the bail of Rogers, the children's mother. Her bail was set at $495,000.
"On a continuous basis the children were getting punched, strangled, bitten, shot with weapons such as crossbows and bb guns, hit with weapons such as sticks and bats, subjected to 'waterboarding' and having scalding water poured on them," according to the motion obtained by AFP.
"Due to the continuous abuse, the children have varying forms of scars, including broken arms."
- Children described abuse -
Rogers and Allen were arrested on March 31 after police responded to a call about a missing 12-year-old child.
Prosecutors said police officers entered the house and found nine children huddled on the living room floor.
They said the house was filthy, with clothes, garbage and feces scattered everywhere.
The children were taken into protective custody and it was only during the subsequent probe that the sadistic abuse came to light, authorities said.
"During the investigation, the children thoroughly described the incidents of abuse," according to the motion filed by prosecutors.
It said that Rogers was aware of the incidents, which date back several years, "and assisted with the abuse herself."
She now faces nine counts of felony child abuse.
"I strive and I pride myself on being a good parent," Rogers previously told reporters outside her home, adding she believed her husband's numerous tattoos made him appear "a scary individual" who others are quick to judge.
The case bears similarities to another uncovered in California earlier this year.
In that case, 13 siblings were rescued from a home where their parents, Louise and David Turpin, allegedly held them captive and tortured them.