Father pleads guilty to neglect

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield father accused of abusing his five young children could serve no time behind bars as part of a plea deal approved by the court.

Craig Corbett, 37, recently pleaded guilty to five counts of neglect of a dependent, one Level 6 felony for each child, and was sentenced to a year and a half of jail time. As part of a plea agreement with the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office, he’ll be able to serve his time in a work-release program through community corrections. He was also sentenced to a year of probation.

Corbett’s wife, Michelle Wilson, 33, also pleaded guilty to neglect charges and was sentenced in December to a year in jail; she is also eligible to serve her time in community corrections, court records show.

A recent change in state law prohibits low-level felons like Corbett and Wilson from being sent to state prisons. Because the Hancock County Jail is overpopulated, many offenders are being filtered through community corrections programs instead, said chief deputy prosecutor Marie Castetter.

The couple’s children were placed in foster care when their parents were arrested. The Department of Child Services will decide when and if they’ll be returned to their parents, prosecutors said.

Police said Corbett and Wilson used drugs in front of their children, who were 9 and younger at the time of their parents’ arrest, beat them with belts and coat hangers, deprived them of food and forced them to live in a dirty, cockroach-infested home.

Corbett was sentenced to serve 545 days in community corrections for each of the five counts he pleaded guilty to, but state law requires the time be served concurrently, prosecutors said.

It was important to prosecutors that Corbett plead guilty to all five counts he was charged with as they sought justice for the children, Castetter said.

Corbett and Wilson were arrested last year after their children told police the couple regularly used drugs in front of them, telling the children the drugs were “grown-up medicine that little kids can’t take.”

The kids drew pictures of paraphernalia to show police how their parents ingested the drugs, according to court records.

When investigators searched the couple’s home in the 200 block of Gaslite Lane in Greenfield in early October, they discovered the family had been living in an apartment that was infested with cockroaches, soiled with animal waste and filled with piles of garbage, court records state.

The property owner told police he sent an exterminator to the apartment to handle the bug problem, but Wilson and Corbett wouldn’t let the man inside, court documents state.

There was no hot water in the home; the children told investigators they took baths once every few days with water heated on the stove, reports state.

A Greenfield building inspector and a Hancock County Health Department environmental health specialist were called to the home to assist in the investigation. Both officials told police the structure was not up to code and could not be lived in, court records state.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.