A University Scientist Caged His Small Children for Hours at a Time

(NewsReady.com) – A scientist who worked at a Florida university has been found guilty of keeping his young children in cages, but he won’t go to prison. Dustin Huff, a biologist at the University of Florida, allegedly kept two children locked up while he and his wife slept or went to work. His wife is also facing child neglect charges.

On December 8, the Gainesville Police Department was called to a home in the city after a six-year-old boy told preschool staff he didn’t want to go home because his parents kept him in a cage. When they asked Huff about the allegations, he denied them and said the “cage” was actually a “bed frame.” Huff then showed the officers a wooden cage over the boy’s bed, with a door bolted on the outside to allow access. Next, the boy told them his two-year-old sister slept in his parents’ bathroom closet in another cage. Investigating, cops found an upside-down crib in the closet with a mattress underneath it.

Huff’s wife, Yurie Xie, a Chinese citizen, told cops the six-year-old has been diagnosed with ADHD and is “disobedient.” She claimed the couple had tried to find after-school childcare, but nobody wants the job because of the boy’s behavior. Instead, she said, Huff built the cage about a year before the boy made his complaint. Huff later told the Department of Children and Families (DCF) he caged the boy because he “disturb[s] the house.” They said the two-year-old’s crib was upside down to prevent her from climbing out. Huff and Xie were both charged with one count of child neglect without serious bodily harm and two counts of aggravated child abuse.

On March 11, Huff pleaded guilty to the count of child neglect; in return, prosecutors dropped the child abuse charges. That means he avoids jail and will get away with five years’ probation, and if he completes that successfully, the conviction will be removed from his criminal record.

Xie’s own trial was set for March 18.

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