RIVERSIDE, California (CNN)– The California couple accused of torturing 12 of their 13 children made a court appearance on Wednesday. During their hearing, the judge barred the couple from directly contacting their kids and other potential witnesses in the case for the next three years.
After the hearing in state Superior Court, David Macher, attorney for David Turpin, said, “The order protects everyone involved, including my client. I don’t want my client accused of trying to tamper with any witness.”
Louise Turpin’s lawyer, Jeff Moore, had no comment other than to say they “will fight the case.”
Neither David or Louise Turpin spoke. Each defendant nodded their understanding.
There is one stipulation that would allow contact — that is, the Turpins would have to go through their attorneys.
Authorities have accused David Turpin 56, and Louise Turpin, 49 — whose children are between 2 and 29 years old — of beating, choking and tying most of the siblings up as punishment. Prosecutors have not alleged the 2-year-old was tortured. The parents allegedly deprived the children of water and fed them small portions of food on a strict schedule.
According to authorities, the 29-year-old child weighed just 82 pounds, prosecutors said, and the other children are so thin they all look younger than their actual ages.
The parents, who lived in Perris, have pleaded not guilty to 37 charges. David Turpin also pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor.
They are due in court again on February 23.
The siblings — seven adults and six children — are in the hospital, recovering from years of alleged abuse and neglect.
The charges cover the time that the Turpins have lived in Riverside County — 2010 to the present.
As the criminal case proceeds, the future of the children will likely be decided in another courtroom.