SALT LAKE CITY — The father of a 12-year-old boy locked in a bathroom for at least a year, and possibly longer, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a severe abuse case that garnered international attention.
In a surprise plea deal, Russell Orin Jaynes, 41, of Toquerville, pleaded guilty in 5th District Court to child abuse, a third-degree felony.
While Jaynes "did not directly engage in the infliction of injury, (he) recklessly failed to protect the child for more than a year preceding the child's removal from the home," according to court documents Jaynes signed as part of his guilty plea.
As part of the deal, Jaynes agreed to be taken immediately into custody following the hearing to serve one year in Washington County Jail, court records state. Upon his release he must complete three years of probation.
In January of 2017, Brandy K. Jaynes, 37, was arrested after Russell Jaynes found their 12-year-old son living in a feces-filled bathroom that had been fitted with locks on the outside of the doors. The boy weighed just 30 pounds when he was found. He was unable to use his legs because he had been in cramped quarters for so long that they stopped growing, according to prosecutors.
On top of it all, police say Brandy Jaynes had a camera set up inside the bathroom with a live feed that went to her mobile device so she saw the abuse everyday.
News of the boy's discovery sparked worldwide outrage.
In August, Brandy Jaynes, who pleaded guilty to three counts of intentional child abuse causing serious injury, a second-degree felony, was sentenced to three consecutive terms of one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison.
Prosecutors called the woman a "master manipulator" who was able to keep both her husband and her own mother away from the room that her son was locked in. Russell Jaynes said he hadn't seen his son in a year until he finally picked the lock on the bathroom door when his wife was gone and found his son lying on the floor unable to move.1 comment on this story
But rather than take his son directly to a hospital or call police, Jaynes drove around for hours, checking into a hotel and bathing his son, and then went to his father's house in Cedar City asking what he should do. When he was originally charged, prosecutors called his actions "reckless," but not malicious like his wife.
During Brandy Jaynes' sentencing in August, the state gave an update on the boy, grew quickly and gained weight as soon as he was removed from the home. And he was able to eat without throwing-up or having any digestive problems, as Brandy Jaynes had previously suggested.