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Mom Charged with Child Neglect after Family Found Living in Tents

22-Dec-2014

An Oklahoma woman was arrested in Pennsylvania after an investigation into allegations of child neglect. Reports say authorities were alerted to Sonia Kubisak, 34, after a nurse practitioner examined her seven children, diagnosing each with multiple health conditions caused by malnutrition and neglect.

An investigation revealed that Kubisak had been living with her children, aged 7 to 17, in a tent camp in rural Pushmataha County for five months, from March to August of this year. 

When investigators visited the camp, they say they found filthy living conditions, including feces, used toilet paper, and sacks of rotten animal feed. The family bathed using a makeshift shower.

Kubisak allegedly told authorities that she attempted to treat her children's medical conditions using medications intended for animals: flea and tick medicine for treating head lice and cattle wormer for treating ringworm.

Kubisak has been arrested and charged with seven counts of child neglect--one for each of her children. The children have been taken into protective custody and appointed a guardian.

The Oklahoma Children's Code defines "neglect" as the failure to provide:

  • nurturance and affection
  • food, clothing, and shelter
  • sanitation and hygiene
  • appropriate education
  • medical, dental, and behavioral health care
  • supervision or appropriate caretakers

Title 10A Section 1-1-105 further defines neglect as the failure to protect a child from exposure to any of the following:

  • the possession, use, sale, or manufacture of illegal drugs
  • any illegal activity
  • sexual acts or inappropriate sexual material

Much like child abuse, child neglect is a criminal offense that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

According a Facebook page, "A Child's Veiw," Kubisak and her children fled Pennsylvania and came to Oklahoma to escape an abusive relationship. However, the author of the page, purporting to be one of Kubisak's children, says that their life did not improve once they arrived. In an entry dated July 2, the day after the children were evaluated by the nurse practitioner, the author writes:

"After 4 and 1/2 hours of testing and blood work we found out yesterday that [---] has shrunk, [---] is suppressed and lost wait since last week, I've lost 6 pounds, and over all we are malnourished, under wait, stunted, have worms, and over all in a bad way. We are starting on medication and counseling this week. I just want to thank God and all the people that have rallies up to help us."

Another entry purports to be a woman who has been working to get help for the kids. She bemoans how long it has taken them to get help, saying that she contacted agencies across the state for eight months trying to find assistance and medical care for the children.

Regardless of the circumstances that led the defendant to living in squalor in a tent camp with her children, the kids deserve better. They need food, shelter, sanitary living conditions, and medical and mental health care. 

Hopefully, since this story has been made public, the children will be able to make a fresh start and get the care they need.



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