A mother has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for subjecting her three stepchildren to torture, compelling them to perform extreme exercises, and depriving them of food. Nora Rodgers pleaded guilty in October to nine counts of first-degree cruelty to children, admitting to inflicting “physical, mental, and emotional abuse” on the victims. The judge sentenced her to 60 years of probation, with the initial 30 years to be served in prison.
According to a news release from the Newton County District Attorney’s Office, Concerned relatives called for a welfare check on the children on Oct. 4, 2020. Law enforcement responding to the call discovered the underage victims with signs of physical abuse, including bruising, swelling, and marks indicative of beatings.
One child, a 9-year-old boy, had a black eye and severe bruising on his legs, while an 8-year-old girl exhibited bruising across her body. The 6-year-old suffered the most severe injuries, including a broken elbow and life-threatening internal injuries from the beatings.
Rodgers imposed extreme boot camp-style exercises on the children, forcing them to engage in activities such as laps and squats with large logs to the point of exhaustion and injury. The exercises occurred during the night and in the summer heat, with Rodgers beating the children if they failed to comply. She also engaged in physical confrontations, striking and hitting them.
As a form of punishment, Rodgers withheld adequate food from the children, setting time limits on their meals and blending solid foods to hasten their consumption. The Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children Services had previously warned Rodgers not to subject the children to extreme exercises or punishment.
Despite having three biological children in the home, Rodgers did not physically punish or withhold food from them. All children, including the three stepchildren and Rodgers’ biological children, were removed from the home and placed in foster care.
During Rodgers’ sentencing, statements were made by the stepchildren, foster parents, a social worker, and the victims’ grandmother, highlighting the profound impact of the abuse on the children. Newton District Attorney Randy McGinley emphasized that the prosecution sought justice for the victims and aimed to ensure Rodgers would be incarcerated long enough to prevent harm to these or other children.