FORTY FORT, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Investigators say they have arrested two foster parents on the accusations of one of the worst cases of child abuse and neglect they have ever seen as they stand accused of abusing a 13-year-old boy in their care and detectives say two foster kids witnesses some of that abuse.
According to the Forty Fort police chief, two foster parents, 48-year-old, Sean Williams, and 57-year-old, Dana Williams, both from Forty Fort, were brought to Luzerne County Central Court in Wilkes-Barre, Wednesday afternoon to face charges for their alleged abuse of children in their care.
On July 20 officers were called to the 1200 block of Wyoming Avenue, near the police station, when Luzerne County Children and Youth Services advised them of a missing foster child at the Williams’ home after several unannounced visits were made and the child was not seen.
“This is one of the more disturbing cases that I’ve seen. To think about how the children are being treated by the people charged with their custody,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.
Police say they arrived and began to ask questions to which they learned about the alleged abuse of a 13-year-old boy in their care. A boy the Williams said they were in the process of adopting.
Court papers read, the Williams also had two foster kids, a 12-year-old boy, and an 11-year-old girl, who were also in the home.
The 13-year-old victim was eventually spotted by an officer inside the house. Sean then admitted he would tell the victim to hide in the basement when someone arrived at the house, according to court records.
“To think that this poor young child being locked in the basement, deprived of food, beaten and strangled, as far as the allegations are concerned, with really no way out by the person who was supposed to look out for him. Two people who are supposed to look out for him. As an adult, a parent, and a prosecutor, for all of us involved in the case, it’s extremely disturbing,” Sanguedolce added.
Through further investigation, it was learned Sean and Dana would keep the victim isolated in the basement for hours, at times weeks, denying him food and water for days, and physically abusing him including strangulation.
D.A. Sanguedolce says they also found evidence of child pornography.
Luzerne County detectives discovered the house had cameras in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and basement areas. When Sean’s phone was confiscated, officers found images from the cameras of the victim sleeping on a concrete floor without a blanket in the basement and sleeping in the attic on a hard floor without a pillow, as stated in the affidavit.
“The charges that were filed relate not only to the abuse of the child but during the investigation evidence of child pornography was also found on one of the defendant’s phones,” Sanguedolce continued.
Police noted those images of child pornography were allegedly found on Sean’s phone.
Two other children were located inside the home and were taken into custody. The children who lived with the victim told investigators of the abuse including a time when Sean allegedly threw the victim and another child down the stairs, according to court documents.
Angelo Falcone walks by the Williams’ home every day.
“I’m really shocked because I’ve lived here for over 40 years. Forty Fort has always been known as a quiet little town. You wouldn’t think that this could happen in our town,” Falcone said.
Dana and Sean Williams were arrested early Wednesday morning. Court records show the suspects are being charged with the following:
- Dana Williams: Endangering the welfare of children by a parent/guardian
- Sean Williams: Child pornography, endangering the welfare of children by a parent/guardian, criminal use of a communication facility, tampering with physical evidence, and simple assault
At this point, charges have not been filed in connection with the two foster children in the house. They and the 13-year-old boy are in protective custody.
D.A. Sanguedolce points out this is an ongoing investigation and says additional charges could be filed.