Twin sisters with diminished mental and behavioral capacity were raped, starved and beaten, and subjected to long stretches of captivity in chains by their father in their south Minneapolis home, according to charges filed this week.
The abuse continued for years, the criminal complaint and other court filings read, until one of them escaped to alert authorities last May.
Charges filed Tuesday against 51-year-old Jerry Lee Curry and a protective order against him also reveal that he fathered two children by one of the twins, one born in June 2014 and the other in October 2017. The sisters are now in their early 20s.
Curry surrendered to authorities downtown and was booked into jail late Wednesday morning. He remains held in lieu of $750,000 bail ahead of his first court appearance Thursday afternoon.
Police said they are trying to locate the mother of the victims to find out what she might know about the violence. The mother’s father said he hasn’t seen her for a month, maybe more, and was unaware of the trouble in her family.
The complaint charging Curry with numerous violent felonies, as well as court orders for protection on the twins’ behalf, also alleged that he also beat the couple’s 10-year-old daughter but not nearly to the extent of what he inflicted on the twins.
Curry’s rage was fueled by one of the twins becoming sexually active and his feeling that they were eating too much, authorities say.
Charges against Curry came more than nine months after the twins and younger sister first made the abuse allegations known to authorities. County attorney spokesman Chuck Laszewski said investigators needed virtually all of that time to collect sufficient evidence, and “when we had everything we needed, we filed the charges.”
The twice-impregnated twin gave a firsthand account of the abuse in her order for protection petition that a Hennepin County judge granted last June.
“I don’t ever remember having enough food,” she wrote. “He forced me to have sex, [and] he has done this to me every day since I was [in my] early teens or so,” the account continued. “He did this to my twin sister also.”
She added that being “chained to the door and bed every day for as long as I can remember,” and threats of being killed and left in the trash continued until her twin fled to a friend’s home and police “took me to a safe place,” bringing the abuse to end in early May.
“It feel[s] so good today to not be chained to the bed.”
Treatment classified as ‘torture’
The twin who gave birth twice after being raped was identified in the criminal complaint as Victim B, and a psychologist determined she is at a “mild to moderate” level of intellectual disability, and unable to live on her own. The other twin, identified as Victim A, is more severely diminished intellectually and behaves much like a child 6 to 7 years old, the complaint continued.
Child safety experts with Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis examined the twins soon after they were removed their parents’ care and concluded that their injuries were “clinically diagnostic of torture.”
Curry, whose criminal history in Minnesota includes nothing more serious than drunken driving and low-level assault convictions, is charged in Hennepin County District Court with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, stalking, first-and second-degree assault, abuse of a vulnerable adult, and a gross-misdemeanor count of child endangerment.
The prosecution’s urgency in getting Curry off the street was evident in him being sought through a “rush warrant,” pointing to the “serious nature” of the offenses and “the threat posed to public safety” before his arrest.
The home is owned and rented out by Jennifer Nepper, who lives in Maple Grove. Nepper said Wednesday that the twins’ mother is mentally handicapped and “really nice. I feel terrible about this.” The property owner declined to say more.
One neighbor said several people who live on the block saw police at the residence last spring or early summer and put two adults under arrest and remove dogs from the 1,100-square foot home on a typically quiet Northrop neighborhood block.
An officer went to the home on a domestic assault call on April 25, 2017, before the twins and younger sister gave their accounts to authorities. The initial incident report from that call shows no arrests being made or other action taken.
According to the charges against Curry:
On May 1, the mother reported that one of her twin daughters, Victim A, was missing. Authorities found her the next day at the Salvation Army shelter downtown bearing “significant injuries consistent with abuse.” She told police she feared returning home but didn’t elaborate.
On May 9, county human services officials removed the other twin, Victim B, and the young sister from the family’s home. Victim A left the Salvation Army shelter and surfaced on June 7 at a women’s shelter in St. Paul.
On June 12 and again a few days later, Victim A gave authorities a detailed account of the violence she and her sisters went through in the home starting at least as far back as roughly 10 years ago when Curry allegedly stomped on and broke the twin’s ankle.
Victim A said that once her parents realized she was “sexually active,” her father repeatedly put a dog chain tightly around one or both ankles and connected it to the parents’ bedroom door “to prevent her from seeing men” and to deny her food.
This bondage would sometimes last for days, often with her hands tied behind her back, and Curry would beat her bloody while she was bound, Victim A said. She said her twin also was similarly chained.
‘Largely detached’ ear
An examination of Victim A on June 15 revealed a “largely detached” left ear, and scars on her forehead, scalp and back. She said those wounds came from when Curry beat her with a bat and a paddle.
Other injuries to Victim A included a chronic limp from being chained around her ankle so tightly. Back in February 2017, she had skin graft surgery on one ankle at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).
County health services officials had the other twin, referred to as Victim B, admitted on May 9 to HCMC. On June 9, a nurse saw Victim B crying, and she admitted that Curry raped her and she was pregnant by him. She said he “routinely raped her” when her mother was not home. DNA samples from Curry and Victim B confirmed that he was the father of her daughter and the twins’ biological father as well.
Victim B said Curry would beat both of them with fists, bats and brooms “if they misbehaved.” She said she also saw her father hit her younger sister but chose not to chain the girl to the door because she “was considered too young.”
The 10-year-old was examined for three days in early May at HCMC, and there were no signs of physical abuse. In questioning in June, she said Curry hit her in the head with a golf club a few years earlier and that he made her strike her twin sisters with a stick.
On June 30, a professional guardian petitioned the court and was granted an order for protection against Curry on behalf of Victim A. That filing revealed further mistreatment including that she was sometimes naked while chained and left to wallow in her feces and urine.
The chains were so snug that gangrene set in and nearly cost her both legs before surgery on both ankles saved them.
The petition also alleged that Curry bloodied the mother with punches and had one twin hit the other.
“When they would go out of the house,” the petition read, “her parents were constantly with both her and her sister, and [Curry] would not leave her alone, so it was impossible for her to get help.”
Curry would “not give them food for days” and had them chained “because they ate too much,” the filing continued.
Victim B alleged that Curry and her mother always kept the twin’s Social Security disability payments to buy drugs and alcohol.
In her first-hand account spelled out in the protection order, Victim B recalled when police finally “came to our home [in May 2017] and took me to a safe place. I am here with my guardian, and I feel safe with her.”
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482