A gay couple in the US accused of raping some of their adopted children have opted to stand trial over the allegations in a bid to clear their names.
George Harasz, 49, and Douglas Wirth, 45, from Connecticut, adopted nine children — three sets of male siblings — beginning in 2000.
But the same sex-couple are now being accused of raping two of their boys, aged 5 and 15, and forcing them to sleep in closets.
Some of their other children, including the accusers' brothers, say the allegations are untrue.
Harasz and Wirth initially faced serious charges relating to sexual assault but prosecutors conceded a lack of forensic evidence would make it difficult to prove their case so they offered a plea deal.
They offered to reduce the charges to one count each of risk of injury to a minor.
Harasz and Wirth pleaded guilty to those lesser charges in January and were due to be sentenced in Hartford Superior Court last Friday.
They were facing suspended prison sentences and probation.
But in an unexpected twist, the couple withdrew their plea and requested a trial in an attempt to clear their names completely.
Meanwhile, prosecutors said more allegations had come to light and they also wanted to go to trial.
Judge Joan Alexander agreed that a trial would be "in the interest of justice" and that the "facts must be shown and must be shown publicly".
Author: Erin Tennant