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Jul 7, 2011 11:25 PM by Shawn Kline

Mother, grandmother accused of beating children "until they bleed"

"I don't care what people say about me... I know it's a lie!"

That was the response from a woman Calcasieu Parish Deputies say beat her two daughters until they would bleed. Deputies say she hit them so hard she even chipped one child's tooth.

"What they did to these children was not only whipping them until they bled but starving them and not letting them eat," Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said.

56-year-old Verna Kennerson of Moss Bluff is facing a 13 counts of child cruelty.

She told reporter, Shawn Kline she's innocent and declined to say anything else on these accusations or charges.
Kennerson did however speak with Lake Charles news, KPLC- even giving reporter, Brandon Richards a tour of her home.

"We have food in the refrigerator." Kennerson told Richards. "It needs to get straightened up but we have food up in here."

KATC's Shawn Kline spoke with neighbors and they had a different story.

"My son and I left that home in tears," one neighbor said. "She was so degrading toward those girls."

Deputies were told the children were hit with just about anything around the house. Some of the items mentioned included a belt, extension cords, and sticks.

"For the last few months, I've had problems with people going through my trash can," one neighbor said of the accusations.

Sheriff Mancuso says Kennerson also forced the girls to sleep outside with no food. Neighbors say they saw them rummaging through their trash cans- leaving behind piles of leftovers.

"She had them sleeping in a little out house, a building with no electricity, no plumbing." Sheriff Mancuso says, "we don't treat our criminals this way."

During the investigation, deputies discovered Kennerson also forced the girls to wear a piece of paper stapled to their backs saying, "we work as a team, we lie and steal."

When Richards asked about this, Kennerson said she had nothing to hide.

"That is true." Kennerson says, "I made them wear it to school to discourage them and shame them from stealing."

Kennerson's mother, Mary Kennerson, who also lives at this home, is also facing one count of child cruelty and failure to report these crimes to authorities.

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