West York father accused of beating children; mother also charged in connection with alleged abuse

YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- A West York man is accused of abusing his children and subjecting them to inhumane living conditions inside a home on the 1300 block of West Market Street.

Charles Benjamin, 71, faces five counts each of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, court documents show.

The children's mother, Janay Fountain, 25, has been charged with 10 counts of endangering the welfare of children. Details regarding those counts have not been made available.

Police became aware of the alleged abuse when Fountain took the children to York Hospital's emergency room -- they then ended up at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

When asked what happened to one of her children, Fountain said, "he was abused," and advised that Benjamin hit him and others with a wooden board, belt and curtain rod, according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint described numerous injuries on four of the children, which included bruises and scars. The injuries were "consistent with physical abuse, and painful," police wrote.

It's also alleged that Benjamin held the children underwater in the bathtub and one child reported being choked.

During a search of their home on West Market Street, police seized a wooden board, curtain rod, several belts and a bungee cord, all of which were allegedly used by Benjamin to strike the children.

Police noted in the criminal complaint that the bedroom where the children were allegedly locked in was "saturated and stained with urine" and "behind the radiator there was what appeared to be a pile of feces."

Chris Siford, who lives next door to the home, said the details of the charges were "terrible."

“I was completely taken aback and couldn’t believe that something like this was going on right next door to me," said Siford.

He said he only had passing conversations with Benjamin in the past.

He also said he's heard clamoring inside of the home before, but never suspected abuse.

“It's a very unsettling feeling," said Siford.

Benjamin is currently being held at the York County Prison on $250,000 bail.

Fountain, who is also at the York County Prison, is being held on $200,000 bail.

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