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Eagan parents accused of neglect, malicious punishment of teen

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER
  • Star Tribune
  • November 27, 2012 - 8:20 PM

An Eagan teenager told authorities that his mom and stepdad put him through a bizarre series of ordeals: They took away the bed and lights in his basement bedroom, covered the window from the outside with foam, made him do hundreds of pushups a day and run outdoors in the cold, and limited his access to showers, food and clean clothes, court documents said.

Greg Danner, 44, and his wife, Angela M. Danner, 41, of Eagan, were each charged by summons Tuesday in Dakota County District Court with gross-misdemeanor counts of child neglect and malicious punishment of a child. Their first court dates are expected in four to six weeks.

According to the criminal complaints, the boy told Eagan police last April that he had to sleep on the floor because his mom and stepdad had removed his bed and lights as a punishment. He said they "severely limit his showers and instruct him that he can use the shower at his dad's house when dad has him for visitation," the charges said.

Greg Danner, 44, admitted Tuesday that he wanted to make the boy miserable, but said "a lot of this is greatly exaggerated."

Said Danner: "He didn't want to do anything around the house. He didn't want to do his chores. He didn't want to get up and go to school."

Danner said the boy, who turned 16 in October, has been living with his father since May.

"I wanted to make it miserable for him," Danner said. "It wasn't meant to be a punishment. It was meant for him to figure out, 'This is not worth it. I should do the chores, get up and go to school and do what my parents expect of me.'"

The teenager said he'd been required to do anywhere from 500 to 2,000 pushups and other exercises every day since he was 12 or 13, and that he had difficulty sleeping because he was sore. He said he also was required to run outdoors "for several miles" in the cold.

The parents allegedly told him "that if he wants clean clothes he should ask his dad to purchase detergent for him and then he can use it to wash his clothes in the bathtub or sink," the complaints said.

The teenager told police he was required to stay in his room at all times when at home, except when he needed to use the bathroom or when he was required to do "chores or exercises." The boy said his sister brought him peanut butter sandwiches every night.

Danner said he and his wife replaced the light in his room and uncovered the window after police told them to do it. He said the boy could have left his room at any time because the door wasn't locked.

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

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