White American Couple Who Tortured Their African Foster Child and Originally Faced the Death Penalty Walk Away with a $26K Fine for Their Crime Against the Boy

A white American couple living in Kampala, Uganda, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in a Ugandan court last week after facing counts of aggravated torture and child trafficking, following their being charged with mistreating their 10-year-old African foster child.

The South Carolinians were accused of “repeated unbecoming inhumane treatment” of the boy, which included but was not limited to feeding him cold food and having him sleep on a wooden cot.

Nicholas and Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer, both 34, also pleaded guilty to inflicting cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. They were given the option of either serving time or paying a fine.

White American Couple Who Tortured Their African Foster Child and Originally Faced the Death Penalty Walk Away with a $26K Fine for Their Crime Against the Boy
Mackenzie Mathias Spencer and Nicholas Spencer pleaded not guilty to the aggravated torture charges on Dec. 14, 2022, after being accused of abusing a foster child in their care. (Photo: Reuters/Youtube screenshot)

An investigation was launched into the Spencers, who were entrusted with caring for the HIV-positive boy for two years before their arrest after his nanny contacted Kampala police in December 2022.

According to the police, the couple was found to have kept the child barefoot and unclothed on cold, tiled floors in their home throughout the day. Additionally, the caretaker reported that the child had not been to school for four months.

“I wanted to leave the job, but I knew if I left without doing something about it, the torture would continue,” the caretaker said.

Originally, the couple faced the death penalty for the “torturing” of the boy but were able to take a plea and receive a far more lenient penalty.

The husband pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect and was fined 1.5 million shillings or given a six-month jail sentence. Meanwhile, the wife received a sentence of a 3.36 million shillings fine or a two-year prison term. Additionally, the Spencers must pay 50 million shillings each, leaving the couple’s total fines at a little more than $26,000 at current conversion rates. The fines are slated to be put toward the special-needs boy’s care.

‘The child was in need of help and support, having lost his father and having been abandoned by his own mother. Unfortunately, the accused persons failed to manage his peculiar behaviors,” High Court Judge Alice Kyomuhangi remarked as she rendered her decision on Tuesday, Oct. 31, the BBC reported.

Additionally, they were sentenced to two months in prison, which was previously completed, after pleading guilty to residing illegally in the East African country and working without permits.

The boy was not the couple’s only child left in their care. After moving to the East-Central African nation in 2017, they fostered three children.

The couple’s lawyer, David Mpanga, explained that the boy suffered from psychiatric problems that caused him to exhibit aggressive and antisocial behavior. They found it challenging to manage him, especially since he and the other children were their first experience as parents. He believes that when assessing their disciplinary choices, ‘they perhaps went too far.’

The judge used this case to make a point about child care in the country, calling it a systemic problem, particularly for children like the young boy.

“That’s why the victim found himself in the hands of the accused persons who are not citizens of Uganda and also suffering from ill health,” Kyomuhangi said.

‘The child was in need of help and support,’ the judge said, because he not only lost his father but was “abandoned by his own mother.”

Without any other place to go but now with money for his care, the boy has been placed in a children’s home. This is meant to be a temporary stop that he must stay in until the appointment of a trustee who will be granted access to the funds allocated for his care.

Read the original story here.

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