A husband and wife who ran a foster care home have been sentenced by Tartu County Court for torturing children.
According to the terms of their plea bargain, Margot Konks, 36, and Maido Konks, 38, pled guilty to the torture of four children.
On November 28, Margot Konks was sentenced to 18 months suspended with three months probation, and Maido Konks received a six-month sentence with the same amount of probation.
The married couple ran a non-profit organization in Tartu municipality that offered a family-style foster home to children from orphanages.
Over a three-year period from 2009 to this year, four children, current ages 5, 7, 9 and 12, suffered a number of abuses at the hands of Margot Konks. Three were also abused by Maido Konks. The abuse ranged from corporal punishment to the increasingly cruel and unusual. According to the accusation, Margot Konks ordered a child to place fingers in the door of a cabinet, then closed the door on the child's hand. Konks also applied stinging nettles to the children's skin, according to the accusation.
The couple pled guilty to some of the counts.
The agreement took into account "the extent of the culpability of each defendant and the fact that they had no prior misdemeanors or criminal record", according to a statement from the spokespersons for the Tartu court and the Southern District Prosecutor's Office. The accused were also said to recognize that the public disclosure of their crimes was a form of punishment.
"There are certainly more cases of child abuse than reach police investigative proceedings, thus movement of information is very important for the detection of such regrettable cases," said Moonika Loim, senior children's protection inspector of the South Prefecture of the police.
The parties have 15 days to appeal the County Court judgment.