A man accused of keeping a toddler in a cage at his Pennsylvania home has been ordered to trial after waiving a preliminary hearing.
Cecil Kutz, 39, was charged in Schuylkill County last month with three counts each of child endangerment and reckless endangerment stemming from the conditions found at his North Manheim Township home.
Magisterial District Judge James R. Ferrier, told The (Pottsville) Republican-Herald on Saturday that he went to the county prison, where Kutz waived the hearing, because the defendant's attorney would be unable to attend proceedings later this month.
State police allege that Kutz locked his 22-month-old son in a makeshift wooden cage and left the boy alone in a hot house in May with his two younger siblings, including a sister born hours earlier. Police said he told them that he had gone to visit his wife in the hospital, but she said he wasn't there and she had no idea where he went.
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Officials said Kutz told them that he used the cage — which contained a foam mattress, toys, and a sippy cup — as a makeshift crib to keep the toddler safe at night.
The toddler's mother alleged after his arrest that local child welfare officials earlier saw the enclosure "and had no problem with it." The Schuylkill County Children & Youth agency declined comment on that allegation, citing confidentiality rules, but said in general that such a cage wouldn't be considered appropriate.