The mother of three children who were sexually abused while their family shuttled between living at the GameSip store at Merle Hay Mall and motels was sentenced Thursday to up to 30 years in prison because she failed to act to stop the abuse.
. Her husband James Beaudrie, 37, faces a January trial on nine charges of sexual abuse and three counts of child endangerment.
According to the Des Moines Register, Polk County prosecutor Frank Severino said Kijua Beaudrie “not only knew that the sexual abuse was going on … but at times actually allowed it to continue” by taking other children and placing them in a different room.
Several of the Beaudries’ nine children reportedly wrote letters asking that their mother not be sent to prison.
Defense attorney Laura Lockwood argued that Beaudrie’s low self-esteem from her own child sexual abuse could have made it difficult for her to come forward before the couple were arrested in April, the newspaper said.
Kijua Beaudrie has been living at a women’s halfway house since July and focused on rebuilding her relationship with her children.
“She was isolated, she was controlled,” Beacon of Life case manager Julie Bardin said of Beaudrie in court, according to the Register. “She had no opinion, and she was threatened many times. She was victimized, just in a different way.”
Beaudrie said in court that “by me not getting us out of that, I let my children go through hell. And it hurts. I’m not proud of my lack of actions.”
But Judge Scott Rosenberg rejected pleas for a suspended sentence and probation, saying Beaudrie had failed to live up to a fundamental responsibility of being a parent.
James Beaudrie kept his family isolated, investigators said last spring. The girls wore only dresses and the older girls were expected to help run the store and raise the other children. The boys couldn’t question their father. Once the children reached the age of 6, they were old enough to be subjected to physical discipline, police said.
Kijua Beaudrie is expected to testify against her husband in his trial.