UPDATE: Victim's mother testifies in Chritton trial - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Victim's mother testifies in Chritton trial

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A third day of testimony for the prosecution continues in the trial for a Madison man accused of severely neglecting his teenage daughter.

Chad Chritton, 41, is charged on seven counts of child abuse, including neglect and false imprisonment. He's accused of keeping his daughter locked up in the basement on an alarm system with no food or a bathroom.

The 15-year-old girl, known as SLC, was found walking along the side of the road barefoot in pajamas last February. She told authorities she fled the home because she didn't feel safe there.

The victim's mother Heidi Pease testified on Thursday. She was married to Chritton for about five years. Pease says after SLC was born, the family moved to Texas where Chritton went to truck driving school and their relationship deteriorated. The two divorced in 2001 and she had custody of SLC, though Chritton kept in touch.

Pease remarried Charles Pease while living in Texas, but after several years she says she realized it was an unsafe environment.

The defense said earlier that Chritton suspected SLC was being sexually abused by Charles Pease and called for an investigation in Texas, which didn't turn up any substantial evidence.

"[Charles Pease] controlled and isolated me from everybody and everything, everybody in my life," says Heidi Pease. "I had no contact with my family."

Pease says at that point she knew she had to escape but couldn't ensure SLC's safety, so she decided to give full custody to Chritton, who lived in Madison in 2006. Pease says at the time she believed Chritton was a good father and would have been able to take care of SLC better than she could. She had no contact with SLC for several years.

In 2010, Pease got in touch with Chritton who only would allow her to contact SLC by writing letters weekly, but Pease believes they were never received. Pease says as soon as she learned of the alleged abuse in 2012, she came to Madison right away.

Later, the jury heard from Chritton's aunt and uncle who live in the Madison area. They both said they didn't know of any problems with the victim and had asked about her on occasion. Chritton would respond that she was doing well. They both said they would have helped care for the girl if they'd been asked.

Also testifying Thursday was a psychologist who treated the girl. The defense has argued that SLC is aggressive and dangerous, often threatening the rest of the family.

Chritton is accused of locking her in the basement with an alarm system that would alert the family if she were to come upstairs. It was reportedly suggested by Dr. Maureen Rickman who treated the girl.

The prosecution asked whether she suggested the alarm to confine and isolate SLC. Rickman said she would not generally tell parents to use a door alarm as confinement, but instead to be aware of a child's location.

"I introduced to the family that this is something we need to work on: establishing boundaries, and I said that could be done in lots of ways, like a door alarm to alert you to where the children are in the house," says Rickman.

Testimony began on Thursday with Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) staff who talked about special needs education that was provided for the girl while she attended Glendale Elementary School. When she first came to the school to attend third grade after moving to Madison from Texas, a review of her special needs was transferred to the district.

A physical therapist and a speech and language therapist testified to doing a follow up evaluation on the girl. The physical therapist, Mary Larson, said her evaluation found the girl had no problems with motor skills as Chritton had previously suggested. The speech therapist, Christine Melgaard, testified that she determined the girl had trouble with her speech and worked with her on developing proper articulation.

Chritton had indicated concerns about the girl's ability to adjust to her new home and communicate appropriately with the family. He also told staff he was worried because she would sit in a corner for long periods of time and she had trouble completing simple tasks like doing the dishes. Throughout an overall evaluation, MMSD staff found the girl had skills at her grade level in the classroom and was able to respond correctly to questions. It found she had a speech and language disability but no other identifiable disabilities.

The prosecution is expected to continue calling witnesses through Monday or Tuesday. The victim is expected to testify along with her step brothers, among others.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A third day of testimony for the prosecution continues in the trial for a Madison man accused of severely neglecting his teenage daughter.

Chad Chritton, 41, is charged on seven counts of child abuse, including neglect and false imprisonment. He's accused of keeping his daughter locked up in the basement on an alarm system with no food or a bathroom.

The 15-year-old girl, known as SLC, was found walking along the side of the road barefoot in pajamas last February. She told authorities she fled the home because she didn't feel safe there.

The victim's mother Heidi Pease testified on Thursday. She was married to Chritton for about five years. Pease says after SLC was born, the family moved to Texas where Chritton went to truck driving school and their relationship deteriorated. The two divorced in 2001 and she had custody of SLC, though Chritton kept in touch.

Pease remarried Charles Pease while living in Texas, but after several years she says she realized it was an unsafe environment.

The defense said earlier that Chritton suspected SLC was being sexually abused by Charles Pease and called for an investigation in Texas, which didn't turn up any substantial evidence.

"[Charles Pease] controlled and isolated me from everybody and everything, everybody in my life," says Heidi Pease. "I had no contact with my family."

Pease says at that point she knew she had to escape but couldn't ensure SLC's safety, so she decided to give full custody to Chritton, who lived in Madison, in 2006. Pease says at the time she believed Chritton was a good father and would have been able to take care of SLC better than she could. She had no contact with SLC for several years.

In 2010, Pease got in touch with Chritton who only would allow her to contact SLC by writing letters weekly, but Pease believes they were never received. Pease says as soon as she learned of the alleged abuse in 2012, she came to Madison right away.

Testimony began on Thursday with Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) staff who talked about special needs education that was provided for the girl while she attended Glendale Elementary School. When she first came to the school to attend third grade after moving to Madison from Texas, a review of her special needs was transferred to the district.

A physical therapist and a speech and language therapist testified to doing a follow up evaluation on the girl. The physical therapist, Mary Larson, said her evaluation found the girl had no problems with motor skills as Chritton had previously suggested. The speech therapist, Christine Melgaard, testified that she determined the girl had trouble with her speech and worked with her on developing proper articulation.

Chritton had indicated concerns about the girl's ability to adjust to her new home and communicate appropriately with the family. He also told staff he was worried because she would sit in a corner for long periods of time and she had trouble completing simple tasks like doing the dishes. Throughout an overall evaluation, MMSD staff found the girl had skills at her grade level in the classroom and was able to respond correctly to questions. It found she had a speech and language disability but no other identifiable disabilities.

The prosecution is expected to continue calling witnesses through Monday or Tuesday. The victim is expected to testify along with her step brothers, among others.

Tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6, Jennifer Kliese will share a recap of today's testimony.

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