LARKSVILLE – A father and mother were arraigned Thursday on child endangerment charges after officials alleged their house was filled with garbage.
Police Chief John Edwards became ill while inspecting the house on Vine Street with the borough's code enforcement officer and fire chief earlier this month, according to charges filed.
Richard Sims, 39, and Jennifer Sims, 37, were each charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of children. They were arraigned by District Judge David Barilla in Swoyersville and released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
The Simses did not return a message for comment.
According to the criminal complaints:
A caseworker with Luzerne County Children and Youth Services called police after conducting a welfare check on three children at the house on Aug. 14. The caseworker took custody of the children, a 17-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, due to deplorable conditions inside the house.
Edwards, Fire Chief Andrew Kachmar and Code Enforcement Officer Joe Yosh arrived at the house the next day, Aug. 15, informing Richard Sims about the report from the child caseworker. Richard Sims became upset and stated, "I screwed up," allowing the three borough officials to inspect the house, the complaint says.
Police said in the complaint there were large amounts of solid waste materials knee high with flies and other insects flying throughout the house. The smell of garbage was "intolerable and immediately" made Edwards sick, the complaint says.
The police chief was unable to continue to the inspection with Kachmar and Yosh.
Kachmar and Yosh told Edwards that the rest of the house "was even worse" than what was allegedly found on the first floor, according to the complaint.
Yosh condemned the house after the inspection.
Police said in the complaint that Children and Youth Services had previously investigated the house due to deplorable conditions in January and July in 2002 and April 2009.
Preliminary hearings are scheduled on Aug. 30 before Barilla.