A Maricopa couple charged with three counts of child abuse entered plea agreements in June.
Corey and Veronica Masterson, arrested in December 2018, both pled guilty to a Class 1 misdemeanor, “permitting life, health or morals of minor to be imperiled by neglect, abuse or immoral associations.” Judge Lawrence Wharton sentenced them to two years of supervised probation and parenting classes.
By signing the deal, the couple avoided prosecution on two more counts. The county had charged them with 10 counts of neglect and abuse, accusations the Mastersons denied. The Department of Child Safety took custody of their three children before the Mastersons were arrested.
According to Maricopa Police Department, the children complained of being deprived of food and water, being spanked with paddles and belts and having their mouths taped shut.
The Mastersons can only have contact with the children “pursuant to DCS and Family Court orders and guidelines.”
Corey Masterson had no prior felonies, and Veronica had two. They spent nearly a month in jail before using their home as bail.
The Mastersons were first prosecuted by Pinal County Attorney’s Office, and they asked for a bench trial, as Corey Masterson called the law-and-order agencies involved “corrupt.” Ultimately, the case was turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for prosecution with hearings in Pinal County Superior Court.
The conviction is the latest in the family epic that is dotted with tragedies. Corey Masterson said his parents died in a murder-suicide when he was 17. Veronica had four children from a previous marriage who died in a house fire while staying with their father in Illinois in 2017. One of the children the Mastersons had together died from sudden infant death syndrome when he was 4 months old in 2013.