A not-guilty plea was entered Tuesday in 4th District Court on behalf Brian Bracy, 38, of Kuna, who is charged with felony injury to a child.
Ada County sheriff’s deputies sought the warrant to arrest Bracy and his wife, Melissa Bracy, 34, last week, alleging the couple subjected the two teenage children in their home to psychological punishments such as keeping the teens locked in their rooms and providing a diet of only rice and water for weeks at a time over the course of several years.
The not-guilty plea was entered on Bracy’s behalf after he stood mute in court.
Melissa Bracy, who is charged with aiding and abetting felony injury to child, has not yet appeared before the judge to enter a plea.
Both were booked into Ada County Jail on July 11, and are held on $150,000 bond.
Kuna Police Chief Kody Aldrich of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said the children are currently in state foster care.
“We’d been out to the house a couple of times for welfare checks, when the neighbors reported seeing or hearing something,” Aldrich said. “Usually the parents were there and they’d say everything was fine, and the kids would say everything was fine. This time, the parents weren’t home and detectives were able to talk to the kids alone and find out what was going on.”
Aldrich said his department has numerous ongoing investigations related to other cases of child abuse.
“Unfortunately, it’s one of the more common cases we deal with,” he said, noting a couple of cases are in court now.
Aldrich said his department in Kuna usually sees about 200 child health and welfare referrals every year – calls from teachers, neighbors or others concerned about the well-being of a child.
“We always go check it out,” he said. “We see it in varying degrees, but there’s usually something going on; sometimes we find out it’s just a matter of strict parenting—other times it might be kids who are too young and left home alone, or there’s no food in the house, and sometimes it’s severe physical or psychological abuse.”
According to court documents, Brian Bracy is scheduled to begin jury trial in the case on Oct. 15.