Foster carers face abuse trial

AMY MAAS
Last updated 12:27 26/03/2013

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A family accused of abusing foster children in their care by using a wire brush to scrub their bodies will go on trial later this year.

Andrew John Hemara, 53, and Jenny-Lee Hemara, 49 appeared at the Auckland District Court today where they were remanded on bail until their trial in August.

Their 21-year-old daughter, Tamara Lee Hemara, was excused from appearing at court today but will also go on trial.

The trio face 38 charges relating to the abuse of children between the ages of seven and 14 between 2004 and 2010.

It is alleged the Wellsford couple, approved caregivers since 2001, scrubbed the bodies and teeth of their foster children with a wire brush, made them run around a racecourse till they became sick, chained them together and forced them to sleep outside without blankets, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The alleged abuse was uncovered in September 2010 when one of the boys "made a disclosure" to a social worker during a routine visit.

Police were called and the children were removed from the Hemaras' care and placed with new caregivers.

Andrew Hemara, a youth worker, faced 17 charges including allegedly ripping an earring from one boy's ear and forcing his hand into a fire until it burned.

His wife is charged with repeatedly punching and kicking a boy while their daughter is facing 10 charges of assault and three charges of wilful ill-treatment.

The trial has been set down for two weeks.

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