A judge has banned a father and mother from contacting the 13 children they are accused of holding captive in their squalid California home.
David Allen Turpin, 57, and his wife Louise Anna Turpin, 49, are charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 of false imprisonment, six of child abuse and six of abuse of a dependant adult.
Claims they tortured, starved and chained their children to beds – denying them basic freedoms – emerged after one of the siblings escaped and alerted authorities to the abuse.
“You must not harass, strike, threaten, assault, follow, stalk, molest, destroy or damage property of or disturb the peace of, keep under surveillance or block the entrance of the people listed in the order,” Riverside County district judge Emma Smith told the Turpins during a court hearing on Wednesday.
“You must not try to get their addresses or locations and must have no electronic, telephone or written communication. You must not contact them except through your lawyer. You can’t use a third party other than your lawyer, including an investigator,” she added.
Louise Turpin was pictured smiling during the proceedings.
The protective order was sought by Riverside County prosecutors and was not opposed by either of the couple’s lawyers.
“It protects everyone involved, including my client,” said Dave Macher, representing David Turpin.
“I don’t want to expose him to accusations that he harassed, tampered with or attempted to persuade a witness not to testify or to get them to change their testimony. We want to avoid that.”
Both parents remain in custody.
The siblings – aged between two and 29 – emerged from their home so malnourished that prosecutors say their growth was stunted and their muscles deteriorating.
They lack a basic knowledge of life, it is alleged, and were allowed to shower only once a year, with prosecutors describing it as a case of “human depravity”.
Several people have come forward with offers to adopt the children, according to Kimberly Trone, from the county’s children’s services division.
“Many of those include offers to take in all 13 victims,” she said, adding that there was “still much to be determined” and that any final decisions would be made in court.
The only thing the siblings, who remain in hospital but have been speaking to investigators, were allowed to do was to write in their journals. Hundreds of these are being reviewed for evidence.
“Victims in these kinds of cases, they tell their story, but they tell it slowly. They tell it at their own pace,” said Riverside County district attorney Mike Hestrin. “It will come out when it comes out.”
David Turpin is also accused of performing a lewd act on a child, a girl, under the age of 14.
The parents were arrested on 14 January at the family home in Perris, southest of Los Angeles.
They deny all the charges and could each face 94 years in jail if found guilty.