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A couple is facing child abuse and criminal sexual conduct charges in Minnesota, where authorities allege they withheld food from their children as punishment and routinely whipped them with belts and extension cords.
According to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, the parents allegedly tied the children to beds or poles when they misbehaved. Other times, they were locked inside different rooms in the house or the basement.
“This is a very disturbing case,” Backstrom told reporters on Thursday.
Flor Gallegos and her husband, Alfonso Gallegos, are accused of child abuse against two of the six children who have been removed from their home in South St. Paul.
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Backstrom said the parents are alleged to have “falsely imprisoned” their children, and “locked in their bedroom or tied up in a basement” when they acted out. He also said “they were denied food” and “potentially whipped with a belt or extension cord.”
PEOPLE was unable to reach Flor and Alfonso Gallegos. It is unclear whether either has entered a plea. Court records do not list an attorney for either defendant.
Flor Gallegos has denied the allegations to WCCO, saying, “I think what that is a lot of stuff is being put into the kids’ heads.”
In the interview, she admitted to spanking her kids “with a belt,” but never with a whip.
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The children were removed from the home in November. Alfonso is further accused of injuring one of the boys’ genitals.
“No possible way because my husband’s not a nasty pervert like that,” Gallegos told WCCO, adding that she is “going to fight for my kids and going to fight hard and do whatever I need to do to get my kids to come home.”