UPDATE: Trials in child abuse case set for next year - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Trials in child abuse case set for next year


MADISON (WKOW) -- Members of a family accused in a high-profile child abuse case will have separate trials next year.

Authorities allege a 15-year-old Madison girl's father, Chad Chritton, and her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton starved the girl and kept her a virtual prisoner in the family home's basement. Chritton will stand trial February 25, while Drabek-Chritton stands trial April 8.

The girl's stepbrother, 19-year-old Joshua Drabek, is accused of sexually assaulting her. Drabek will stand trial January 7

Dane County Judge Julie Genovese denied motions Friday to change the location of the trial because she felt the defendants could receive fair trials in Dane County. Attorneys for the family member argued extensive publicity of the case would influence potential jurors.

But, Genovese did grant a defense motion that the girl testify in-person during trial. The teen's testimony appeared on videotape in an earlier court hearing.

Authorities allege when a passerby found the girl by the side of a road in February, she was dressed only in pajamas and weighed only seventy pounds. Authorities also allege the teenager's home had an electronic security system to inform family members if the girl attempted to leave the basement.

Chritton's attorney, William Hayes, said social service documents refer to the possibility the security system was required as a condition of supervision of Drabek as the result of a previous, juvenile case. Genovese ordered prosecutors to turn over any evidence of such a security requirement to defense attorneys. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said he was unaware of such a requirement.

The teenager's medical records will be considered for inclusion at the trials. Authorities maintain the girl was the victim of serial child torture, but Hayes claims her father and stepmother facilitated treatment for the child to help her cope with various health problems.

Friday's court hearing was the first time Chritton and Drabek-Chritton had appeared in court in civilian clothes. They were both released from jail on $30,000 bail earlier this year. Drabek remains jailed.

Both Chritton and Drabek-Chritton declined comment to 27 News after their court hearing. 


MADISON (WKOW) -- The family accused in a high-profile child abuse case will appear in Dane County Court Friday.

The girl's stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, and her father, Chad Chritton, face charges of torturing and starving their 15-year-old daughter.

The victim's step-brother, Joshua Drabek, is also charged in the girl's alleged sexual assault.

Melinda Drabek-Chritton and Chad Chritton face felony charges.

Authorities say the girl was found in her pajamas, alongside a road in winter, weighing just 70 pounds.

All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges.


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