GASTONIA — A Gastonia couple who locked a teen in his room for punishment has pleaded guilty to child abuse.
41-year-old Johnny Rufus Dickson and 45-year-old Joy Evonne Skipper accepted a plea deal on a misdemeanor child abuse charge and a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
They've been placed on probation and been ordered to serve 48 hours of community service.
The couple was arrested in June when a social worker saw the 14-year-old teen's living conditions.
Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell says the teen was locked in his bedroom except when he went to school. He had a bucket in a closet for a bathroom.
Defense attorneys said the teen had serious behavioral problems that prompted the couple's actions.