A Berks County man physically and sexually abused four children who were in his care over a span of 23 years, police and prosecutors said.
Warren Earl Yerger Sr. face more than 500 criminal charges in connection with the repeated crimes against three girls and a boy, who were as young as 3-years-old when the abuse began, said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.
Yerger's wife, Leslie Anne Yerger, and his onetime girlfriend, Deborah Anne Keeley, have also been charged in the case.
The crimes, Hogan said, happened in Berks, Chester, McKean and Montgomery counties between 1989 and 2012.
"These defendants essentially tortured children in their care for years. They degraded these victims in every way possible," said Hogan. "As a child, where can you turn when the people who are supposed to be caring for you are sexually assaulting you? We will make sure that justice is done for the victims and to the defendants."
Yerger Sr. sometimes told people he was saying nightly prayers with two of the four children and would then lock the door to their rooms and sexually assault them, Hogan said.
Yerger Sr., 51, of Douglassville, was charged with multiple counts of rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and more than 500 counts of criminal conduct.
"Yerger has been charged with every legally appropriate charge for sexually abusing these children," said Hogan. "There is no charge that exists for it, but he ought to be charged with murdering the childhood of these victims."
Leslie Anne Yerger, 34, of Douglassville, was also charged with multiple counts of rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and other charges, police said. She, police said, committed the crimes against two of the children.
Keeley, 46, of Birdsboro, is accused of hurting two of the children. She was charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and other offenses, police said.
All three of the defendants were committed to the Chester County Prison. Bail for Yerger Sr. was set at $1 million; bail for Leslie Anne Yerger and Keeley was set at $500,000.