Local Couple Accused of Duct Taping Child to Cupboard, Forcing Him to Sleep in Bathroom

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – A local couple is facing 182 combined charges in a bizarre case in which they are accused of duct taping a child to a cupboard and forcing him to sleep in the bathroom.

Court documents indicate 38-year-old Travis Strawbridge and 39-year-old Katie N. Strawbridge, both of Titusville, were arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Andrew F. Fish on Wednesday, June 12.

Travis Strawbridge faces the following charges:

  • Kidnapping of Minor – Ransom/Hostage, Felony 1 (eight counts)
  • False Imprisonment of Minor/Parent, Felony 2 (eight counts)
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3 (two counts)
  • Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 1 (ten counts)
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1 (60 counts)
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2 (three counts)

Katie Strawbridge faces the following charges:

  • Kidnapping of Minor – Ransom/Hostage, Felony 1 (four counts)
  • Kidnapping for Ransom, Felony 1 (four counts)
  • False Imprisonment of Minor/Parent, Felony 2 (eight counts)
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3 (two counts)
  • Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 1 (ten counts)
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1 (60 counts)
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2 (three counts)

The charges stem from an investigation initiated following a forensic interview with a known juvenile that was conducted at the Venango County Human Services Complex on April 29.

Six specific incidents were reported during the interview:

– Standing in the Corner
– Hot Sauce Incident
– Sleeping in the Bathroom
– Duct Tape
– Tied to a Tree
– Standing Outside in the Snow

The incidents allegedly occurred at various times between January 1, 2017, and February 28, 2019, at a residence on Stone Springhouse Road, in Titusville, Cherrytree Township, Venango County.

According to a criminal complaint, the juvenile reported living with his grandparents because he stated that he was “always getting in trouble, and he needed a break from his parents” — Travis Strawbridge, and stepmother, Katie N. Strawbridge.

The complaint indicates that the victim reported being made to stand in a corner in the morning for 30 minutes before school and after school until approximately 11:00 p.m. without being permitted to ever leave the corner.

According to the complaint, the victim stated he even eats dinner in the corner, standing up when it is something like a sandwich, though he said he is permitted to sit down in the corner if the food is on a plate. He reported never getting to sit at the dinner table, though other children in the household were permitted to do so.

The victim stated: “They put hot sauce in my mouth. No more than three times. They put in on a spoon and make me swallow it. I am not allowed a drink after I swallow it. It is hot, and I cry sometimes.”

The victim stated: “I have been standing in the corner a couple of years. If I am not eating, I am standing in the corner. Sometimes I eat in the corner. In the summertime, I stand in the corner all day long,” according to the complaint.

When asked about sleeping arrangements, the victim stated that although he had his own room with a sibling, he was not allowed to sleep there and was forced to sleep in a back bathroom. The victim went on to say that his parents “put a camera on him,” indicating they did so to watch him and said they also taped his hands with duct tape then tape him to a cupboard so he cannot move. The victim allegedly reported his parents made him sleep in the bathroom because he does not sleep, then said: “I actually do sleep.”

The victim continued stating that he was sleeping on a thin mat in the bathroom on the floor, and said it “makes him sad.”

He reported being locked inside the bathroom at night and said his parents use a drill to put a board on the outside of the door to prevent him from getting out. He also said he is sometimes not allowed a blanket and places his pillow over himself for warmth. The toilet and sink in the bathroom where he sleeps do not function, according to the complaint.

The victim stated: “I have been sleeping in the bathroom for at least a year. It started when it was cold outside. Sometimes they would leave the window open when it was cold on purpose. They locked me in there using a board and a drill, so I couldn’t get out. It was cold and sometimes I was scared,” the complaint indicates.

The victim also stated: “They duck (sic) taped me three times for three nights in a row. I was in the bathroom taped all night. My feet were just duck taped but my hands were taped to a cupboard where I couldn’t move. I was just laying there on the floor in the dark.”

According to the complaint, the victim also reported that he went camping with his parents, and they tied him to a tree with rope on a neighboring property with his hands tied behind him around the tree. The victim also reported being forced to stand outside in the snow in his pajamas, with no shoes, for about ten minutes at a time, twice on one particular day.

Based on the investigation, the charges were filed in Magisterial District Judge Andrew F. Fish’s office on Wednesday, June 12.

Both defendants were lodged the Venango County Jail on $75,000.00 monetary bail each.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19, with Judge Fish presiding.


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