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Elk Co. pastor and wife to stand trial on child endangerment charges
By: WJAC Web Staff
KANE, Pa. -- An Elk County pastor and his wife will stand trial for allegedly endangering their adoptive children by not feeding them at their home in McKean County.
Mark Hooper, 43, and Susan Hooper, 40, of Mount Jewett, were charged each with three counts of endangering the welfare of children following a police investigation that showed the couple allegedly underfed and withheld meals from their children as punishment.
The Bradford Era reported Tuesday a trial for the two on the charges is scheduled to start Jan. 6. The couple did not object to a motion by McKean County District Attorney Raymond Learn to join their separate cases together for trail.
The charges involved their three adoptive children, who range in age from 9 to 11. State police began their investigation after the youngest child ran away from home in February and told a neighbor about the lack of food and the punishments.
The children have testified they were punished by having meals withheld, but the couple has claimed there isnt enough evidence to support prosecutors claims that the children were unfed.
In August, Senior Common Pleas Judge John Cleland refused to dismiss the charges against the couple.
Mark Hooper was the pastor at the Cobb Street Baptist Church in Johnsonburg, Elk County, at the time the charges were filed.