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Minnesota couple accused of keeping teen in dark room, forcing workouts

Attorneys in Minnesota's Dakota County have filed gross misdemeanor charges against a couple who allegedly took away 15-year-old's bed and forced him to stay in his room under video surveillance at all times except to use the restroom and complete chores or exercises.

MyFoxTwinCities.com reports that Eagan residents Angela and Gregory Danner face one count each of malicious punishment of a child and neglect of a child after an investigation that began in April with the boy informing police that his mother and stepfather took away his bed and lights from his bedroom.

The boy, who is now 16, was 5 feet 9 inches tall but weighed just 120 pounds when he came to live with his natural father after notifying police of the alleged abuse.

An investigation into the teen's statements to police found that lights and a bed were allegedly removed from his room and foam was placed over his windows, according to prosecutors. The couple reportedly put a light back in after being instructed to do so by authorities.

In subsequent interviews with officers, the teen said the Danners ordered him to do hundreds of military-style pushups daily and limited his showers. He told police he ate a peanut butter sandwich nightly and left his plate on the stairs when he was finished.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom told MyFoxTwinCities.com the couple's alleged behavior "crossed the boundary of what is appropriate under law."

The Danners, who have given up custody of the boy, each face a maximum penalty of up to two years in jail and fines of up to $6,000 if convicted, according to the report.

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