The stepfather charged with child neglect for allegedly locking his stepdaughter in the basement of his Brookfield residence and calling her "Stink" spoke out in Waukesha County Circuit Court last Thursday.

The stepfather vehemently denied the charges against him and his wife, the mother of the child, which could result in up to nine months in prison if the defendants are found guilty.

"This is ludicrous. This is a blatant lie about us," the stepfather said. "Our world is turned upside down by this."

The couple was charged last March after a search warrant was executed by city of Brookfield police March 5 following an anonymous tip about the child's living conditions.

Brookfield Now is not naming the defendants in order to protect the identity of the child.

Last month, Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Michael Thurston told Judge Lee Dreyfus Jr. that the district attorney's office may be seeking to bring an additional felony charge of causing mental harm to a child against the couple.

Last week, Thurston told Dreyfus that the district attorney had not had enough time in recent weeks to fully review whether or not to bring the felony charge and asked for more time to make the decision. The topic was rescheduled for 9 a.m. April 12.

Dreyfus also consulted with the defendants regarding their representation. The couple had been represented by Ronald Sonderhouse until December.

The defendants have told Dreyfus that they are unable to afford a new attorney and that the public defender's office has told them that they do not qualify for state-appointed representation.

Last week, Dreyfus discussed a plan that would see the defendants provide a deposit of $50 per month with the clerk of circuit court's office with the first payment to be made April 1 in order to fulfill a recommendation by Thurston that the defendants obtain representation.

Dreyfus also recommended that a different attorney be appointed to both the stepfather and the mother in case their interests diverge at a later date.

Following the stepfather's denial of the allegations last Thursday, March 10, Dreyfus felt compelled to advise him not to speak further without an attorney present.

"I think this is so absolutely unfair," the stepfather said. "This is ridiculous."

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