A man, his wife, and a woman described as his girlfriend have been charged with torturing and sexually abusing four children who were in his care for 24 years.
Fifty-one-year-old Warren Earl Yerger Sr. of Douglassville faces more than 500 criminal charges in connection with the alleged crimes against two boys and two girls, including rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and corruption of minors.
“What he really should be charged with is murdering their childhood, murdering their innocence…they can never get that back,” said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
The alleged horrific assaults, documented in a 46-page criminal complaint, took place from 1989 to 2012, according to investigators. Prosecutors say one of the alleged victims came forward to police and after an investigation they found that the other children had also been abused.
Yerger's wife, 34-year-old Leslie Yerger, and one-time girlfriend, 46-year-old Deborah Keeley, also face multiple counts including sex crimes and corruption of minors, according to Hogan. Investigators say they forced the children to perform sex acts on them.
“They were supposed to be taking care of the children. They knew about the abuse, didn’t stop it and then participated,” said Hogan. “These defendants essentially tortured children in their care for years. They degraded these victims in every way possible. As a child, where can you turn when the people who are supposed to be caring for you are sexually assaulting you? We will make sure that justice is done for the victims and to the defendants."
William Rickard, who lives next door to Yerger, says he was stunned after learning about the allegations.
“Very sad and very sick…I mean having children of my own and them being that close, it’s very scary,” said Rickard. "I feel bad for the children."
Officials say the children were as young as three and the abuse occurred at residences in Chester, Berks, McKean and Montgomery counties.
Prosecutors say Warren Yerger, a Bucks County security guard, sometimes told people that he was saying nightly prayers with two of the victims, then would lock the door to their rooms and sexually assault them. He also told one victim that he “would beat the evil out of him [the victim].”
One of the alleged victims told police that when she got older she was ordered to perform sex acts for a ride to work.
The three defendants were being held at the Chester County Prison.
Warren Yerger’s bail was set at $1 million. Bail for the two women was set at $500,000. A hearing is scheduled for next week for all three suspects.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.