Foster mother charged in abuse of children

BENTON PA.- A foster mother has been charged with the sexual and physical abuse of two young children in her care between June and September 2011, the same time the two were being sexually assaulted by a foster brother.

State police at Bloomsburg charged Luella Jo Mengine, 47, of Sones Hollow Road, Benton, with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. She was arraigned Monday before Magisterial District Judge Douglas D. Brewer, of Millville and placed in Columbia County Prison on $100,000 bail.

The two victims, a five-year-old male and a seven-year-old female, were removed from Mengine's home in January after they, and three other children, were sexually assaulted multiple times by a 13-year-old foster brother at the home between June and September. After being taken into protective custody, the boy and girl reported to authorities about being physically and sexually abused by Mengine, as well.

According to a release, Mengine allegedly assaulted them with a tennis racket. One of the children told authorities that the foster mother held their head in a bucket of water, preventing them from breathing, and also sexually assaulted them.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23 before Brewer.