The Maryland parents behind the controversial Youtube channel DaddyOFive were reportedly found guilty of child neglect Monday and sentenced to five years supervised probation.
According to The Frederick News-Post, Mike and Heather Martin, of Ijamsville, entered Alford pleas to two counts each of child neglect. For reference, an Alford plea allows a “claim neither of guilt nor innocence toward charges brought against a defendant in criminal court,” according to Cornell Law School.
Frederick County sheriff’s deputies investigated whether the couple’s videos depicted the abuse of two of their children, Cody and Emma. Assistant State’s Attorney Lindell Angel honed in two concerning “prank” videos where Mike and Heather reprimand Cody for damaging his room and another where they trick Cody into thinking he will no longer be living with them, according to the local paper.
“We realize that we have made some terrible parenting decisions,” Heather said in April. “We wanted our kids to be happy, and we went about it the wrong way.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the Martins revealed that the children were in on the pranks and that the pranks were filmed with the children’s cooperation. Despite their claims, Cody and Emma’s biological mother, Rose Hall, remained unconvinced and was granted emergency custody in May.
However, WTOP noted that the two children are currently in foster care.
In court, prosecutor Lindy Angel said a psychologist concluded that both children endured emotional trauma because of the YouTube videos. WTOP reported that all videos were removed from the channel following abuse accusations. The pair continues to post prank videos to Heather’s MommyOFive channel that doesn’t feature their children.
“We’re in a new era with social media,” defense attorney Stephen Tully said after sentencing.
“They have to learn the things that are appropriate and not appropriate, particularly with children.”
As part of the plea deal, the Maryland parents cannot have contact with Emma and Cody unless it’s approved by a court. They also cannot post videos or photos of the children to social media unless it’s for family use, according to the local station.
The Martins face up to 10 years in prison if they violate the terms of their probation.
[Featured Image: GMA/ABC News screenshot]