Gastonia couple given probation for locking up teen with bucket for bathroom

The Associated Press

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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.

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