Mom With Kids on YouTube Channel Charged With Child Abuse

Mom With Kids on YouTube Channel Charged With Child Abuse
(George Hodan/

PHOENIX—An Arizona woman who used to operate a popular YouTube channel featuring children has been indicted on charges that she kidnapped five of her seven adopted children and abused them by pepper-spraying them, forcing them to take ice baths and striking them with clothes hangers.

The indictment filed Monday, March 25, mirrors some charges brought last week against Machelle Hobson. Christy Wilcox, a spokeswoman for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors didn’t have direct evidence that Hobson was abusing two of the adopted children, both of whom are aged 3.

Hobson is accused of using pepper spray on a child’s genitals, applying a lighter or stun gun to a victim’s genitals, arm or other body parts, and causing them to suffer malnourishment.

Machelle Hackney
This booking photo provided by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shows Machelle Hackney. (Pinal County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Authorities have previously said Hobson locked up the children in a closet for days at a time without food, water or access to a bathroom.

Hobson attorney Richard Scherb didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday afternoon seeking comment on his client’s behalf.

Hobson, who remained jail Tuesday on a $200,000 bond, is scheduled to enter a plea on 24 counts of child abuse, five counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault at an arraignment hearing on Friday.

YouTube has since terminated Hobson’s channel, which featured skits about such things as children stealing cookies or a boy with superpowers, after determining the channel violated its guidelines.

NTD Photo
Machelle Hackney’s YouTube Channel. (Screenshot via YouTube/Fantastic Adventure)

Investigators had said they found two cans of pepper spray in Hobson’s bedroom.

Police had said the children were malnourished, noting that one hungry child was fearful to eat a bag of chips that police had given her because she didn’t want Hobson to smell them on her breath.

They also said the children were taken out of school so they could keep filming the video series and hadn’t been back in school for years.

Hobson’s biological daughter, who is an adult, alerted police of the abuse nearly two weeks ago, prompting officers to visit Hobson’s home in the city of Maricopa, located 35 miles south of Phoenix.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety later removed the children from the home, and Hobson and her two of her adult sons were arrested. The sons, Logan and Ryan Hackney, are accused of failing to report abuse of a minor.

The child safety agency declined to say whether it had any prior contacts or complaints related to Hobson, citing confidentiality laws.

Kedai Muqtazza 发布于 2019年3月20日周三

In a statement Tuesday, Child Safety Director Gregory McKay said Hobson’s case brings pain to those who work for the agency and pointed out the difficulty in detecting abuse by people who have no criminal records.

McKay said at least 20 systems or agencies were involved with Hobson and the adopted children, including two police departments and a foster care review board.

“However much I wish someone would have detected these alleged horrors sooner, no one did,” McKay said in the statement.

Alleged Abuse

When officers arrived at Hackney’s residence on March 13, they found seven children “who appeared to be malnourished, due to their pale complexion, dark rings under their eyes, underweight, and they stated they were thirsty and hungry,” reported ABC News. Police spoke with several children. One of them appeared “too scared to answer any questions.”

The children accused Hackney of locking them in a closet for days at a time without water. One of the children was made to wear a pull-up diaper and was not allowed to use the bathroom. Moreover, the children were allegedly pepper sprayed, spanked, and forced to take ice baths. If they resisted they were punished.

The probable cause statement also detailed the alleged abuse of another child. This child claimed that he would “either get beat with a hanger or belt,” “or a brush,” “or get pepper sprayed from head to toe.” He also claimed that Hackney would grab at his genitals. Hackney has also been accused of pinching one of the boys in a sensitive area with her fingernails until he bled, reported NBC News.

Police said the children told them they were taken out of school and allegedly forced to participate in their mother’s YouTube series, claiming that they had not been in school for years. They would also be punished if they forgot their lines or did not follow instructions. One of the children said he “was in the green screen room most of his life,” the news station reported.

All seven children have been removed from Hackney’s care by the Department of Child Services.

Hackney’s son Logan allegedly admitted to police that he was aware of the abuse on his siblings, saying that he had observed physical injuries on the children and has also heard them scream and cry, the complaint said. Moreover, the children told authorities that Ryan would sneak them food when they were being locked in the closet, reported ABC News.

The Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this report.

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