Kuna couple takes plea deal in child abuse case

Kuna couple takes plea deal in child abuse case

Melissa and Brian Bracy

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 3:30 PM

BOISE -- A Kuna couple accused in a bizarre case of psychological abuse involving two teenage children pled guilty to reduced charges on Tuesday.

38-year-old Brian Bracy and his wife 34-year-old Melissa Bracy each pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and engaging in punishment that was unduly restrictive. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors dropped the more serious charges of felony injury to child.

Judge Michael Oths sentenced Brian Bracy and Melissa Bracy to serve unsupervised probation for two years.

Oths also ordered the Bracys not have contact with the teens for 730 days. Prosecutor Cathy Guzman said the only exception would be if the teens decided to formally and legally contact the Bracys.

COUPLE ACCUSED OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE

In July, Ada County Sheriff's deputies arrested 38-year-old Brian Bracy and his wife 34-year-old Melissa Bracy at the couple's home in Kuna. The arrests came at the conclusion of a sheriff's office investigation where the Bracy's were accused of psychologically abusing their children over a period of four years.

Officials said the couple would lock their teen son and daughter in their rooms for hours at a time. They said the couple also denied the children contact with the outside world, blacked-out their windows, set up a home surveillance system to monitor the teens, and fed them limited food, including sardines, rice, vegetables, and water.

Investigators also said the bizarre punishments doled out by the Bracys increased to a point where both teens had considered hurting themselves in order to escape the home.

PROSECUTOR SATISFIED

"I'm satisfied with this outcome because it means that both children are safe," Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman told KTVB. Guzman said the deal also means the Bracy children don't have to worry about facing their parents in a jury trial.

Guzman also corrected alleged media reports that stated the couple had starved their children. "I know that the media has been reporting that the couple only fed the children rice and water, but that's not what came out during testimony," Guzman said.

However, Guzman declined to comment on that, and other key testimony from the Bracy's two children, citing legal and privacy restrictions.

When asked if the Bracy's method of punishing their children constituted psychological abuse, Guzman declined to comment, but did say "I think the children felt that way."

Guzman later added "Do I believe that what these parents did was appropriate -- no."

Authorities say both children are now in the custody of the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare.

BRIAN BRACY CONTACTS KTVB

On Wednesday, Brian Bracy placed a call to KTVB asking about information the media reported on his case. Bracy said that he was attempting to collect the information for personal use.

When asked about his plea deal and the charges that he psychologically abused his children, Bracy said "Unfortunately, I don't have a comment at this time for that."

When asked about his home's security system, which sheriff's deputies said included five cameras the couple used to monitor the teens, Bracy said he felt the cameras were appropriate.

"We absolutely had a security system in our house like a lot of people do," Bracy said. "And it is in use with or without anyone in the home."

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