BURKE COUNTY, GA -- Last summer, authorities discovered 11 siblings who had been isolated and maltreated by their parents, raised in a home with no water or electricity and not permitted to attend school. Now, after the imprisonment of the father and the removal of the children from the home, the mother has filed for divorce -- and is citing spousal abuse on her husband's part.
A temporary hearing for the divorce action has been scheduled for March 31.
Christine Long, who has been accused of not providing proper child care, says in her divorce complaint that her husband, Jeremy Long, continually abused her and the children, some of whom allegedly resulted from marital rape. According to Christine Long, Jeremy Long refused to let her leave the family home, resorting to stomping on her feet with boots before he went to work and forbidding her to own a pair of shoes. He supposedly also refused to give his wife access to prenatal care while she was pregnant.
County investigators took the children away in July. Jeremy Long has since been charged with child cruelty and is currently in prison in Burke County.
"Conditions in the home were prison-like," Christine Long's divorce lawyer, Jack Long, told WJBF-TV in Augusta, Georgia. "There weren't enough beds. There was never enough food." He added: "The situation was so desperate, my client and her children really didn't have any options, other than to stay.
"We can easily define this as torture in a very basic sense," Jack Long told the station.
Since authorities rescued the Long children from their home ordeals, the First Wayne Baptist Church in Waynesboro have helped Christine Long recover. "The woman is in such shock," Al Wright, the church's pastor, explained about women in abusive situations in an interview with WJBF. "So she doesn't know what to do. Then again, when children come along, she really gets trapped." He added that every woman in such a situation should get herself and the children out of it as soon as possible: "She owes that to herself and her family. You don't have to stay in that situation of abuse.
"There is a better life for you," said Pastor Wright.