United States mum 'abused kids who performed on family YouTube channel'

US mum 'abused kids who performed on family YouTube channel'

Mother accused of abusing 7 adopted children to force them into making YouTube videos

News reports Arizona woman Machelle Hackney was arrested and charged by the Maricopa Police Department on Friday on suspicion of beating her children, pepper-spraying them, keeping them from school, withholding access to food, water, and the bathroom, and forcing their heads into ice baths, among other offences.

Authorities say Hobson used pepper spray to discipline the children and locked them inside a closet for days.

Hackney - who also uses her maiden name, Hobson, was arrested at her home in Maricopa, Ariz., along with her two biological sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney.

The page was still operational on Wednesday morning, though YouTube confirmed the channel had been demonetized.

One of Hobson's adult sons was directing the kids on a pathway behind Fragua's backyard, she said.

Ricardo Alvarado, a Maricopa police spokesman, said the seven adopted children ranged in age from about 6 to 15.

The mother ran the YouTube channel which drew in more than 800,000 subscribers.

When officers went to the house, they said six of the children appeared to be malnourished, pale and underweight.

One child claimed that Hackney pinched the tip of his penis until it bled, while another claimed that Hackney pepper sprayed her genitals - resulting in acute pain for days afterward.

The children told police they were forced to act in the successful series videotaped in their house, and if they tried to avoid being in the show, they were abused, officers said.

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Cops became alarmed when they first found one adopted child in a closet, wearing only a diaper.

The case began to unfold when Hackney's biological daughter contacted authorities on March 13, the Washington Post reports.

Logan Hackney said he had talked with his brother, Ryan, about reporting their mother, but never did, police said.

"I either get beat with a hanger or belt" "or a brush", one child said, "or get pepper sprayed from head to toe", according to the statement.

Police interviewed two of the children and attempted to speak with a third but "she was visibly nervous, shaking, and it appeared she was too scared to answer any questions", according to the probable cause statement.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety says it removed the children from the home of a woman with a popular YouTube channel who was arrested on suspicion of abusing her seven adopted kids.

The channel was taken down by mid-afternoon Wednesday leaving a message that said it had violated YouTube's community guidelines.

Hackney was charged with seven counts of child abuse, five counts of unlawful imprisonment and child neglect, and two counts of molestation of a child. "When we're made aware of serious allegations of this nature we take action, which may include suspending monetization, or, upon conclusion of an investigation, terminating channels".

We would also like to mention that while a small number of people with bad intentions do manage to make it past the rigorous licensing and court process, the vast majority of Arizona foster parents are kind, charitable people and we appreciate their dedication to Arizona's most vulnerable children.

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