Brian Bracy says he wants people to know he wants the best for his teenage son and daughter wants them to eat right, do their homework, do well in school and treat people well.
Bracy also wants people to know he never punished his teens by denying them food or locking them in their rooms as a punishment.
And while he acknowledges he pleaded guilty to lesser charges, he said he has his kids best interests at heart.
Bracy is upset at investigations done by the Ada County Sheriffs Office and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare about his son and daughter, who are now in foster care.
He said investigators for both agencies talked only to his kids and neglected to talk to family members and friends, who he said would have disputed the teens claim that he and his wife, Melissa, made them stay in their rooms for extended periods or gave them only rice and water for punishment.
(Deputies) have no hard evidence. ... If they had some, they failed to bring it forward, Bracy said. They did a very incomplete investigation, considering the seriousness of the charges.
Those charges could have been examined and challenged in a trial, but Bracy and his wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace Tuesday as part of a plea agreement with Ada County prosecutors. They also agreed to have no contact with the teens for up to two years no contact at all, unless the children say its OK.
So why did he plead guilty?
At this point, what I can say is after discussing the circumstances with my close family members at length, we all came to an agreement that it wasnt safe for us to have children in our home if they were going to make those accusations, Bracy said. I know where they are in foster care and I am comfortable in the environment they are in.
Bracy said his kids were recently deemed to be healthy by a doctor and, except for a two-week period earlier this summer, the teens were not grounded or confined to their rooms for more than a few hours or a day at a time.
The teens had told deputies a different story. When the couple was arrested in July, Ada County sheriff's officials said confining the teens to their rooms was part of a psychological punishment routine that put them in danger over the course of four years.
In July, Kuna Police Chief Kody Aldrich said cases of mental abuse produce no bruises. Yet the damage done to these children is just as harmful, he said. Court documents for the misdemeanor charge say the Bracys maliciously and willfully disturbed the peace or quiet of (the teens) by offensive conduct by engaging in punishment which was unduly restrictive.
A lot of people feel it was unnecessary to ground my children for two weeks (to their rooms) with a bathroom schedule. I would certainly say that was unduly restrictive, Bracy said Thursday, offering another for why the couple entered guilty pleas.
Officials said the Bracys punished the kids by restricting their food to things like rice, water and sardines for long periods and punished them more if they tried to grab other food.
Deputies said the Bracys had five video cameras monitoring the inside of the home, and the children were not allowed to have books or other materials in their rooms; violating the rules also brought punishment, officials said.
Brian Bracy said such accounts are not true. He said the cameras in the home were to protect valuables, although he did check the video at times to make sure the kids did their homework.
He said he fed his kids nutritious food, which they simply didnt like.
The 13- and 15-year-old had been in trouble with juvenile court, Bracy said. At one point, he said, he filed a complaint with deputies, wanting to charge the kids for stealing coins from inside the home. Those charges were not pursued because of the case against the adults.
He also said that Ada County prosecutors in court this week described it as a case of unexperienced parents.
Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman acknowledged using that description, but said the important thing about the plea agreement was that it spared the teens from having to testify in a trial. It accomplished the most important objective, she said getting the teens out of the home and into a safe place.
Sheriffs officials said Thursday they stand by their investigation as complete and accurate.
Officials declined to discuss whether the kids had been in legal trouble, saying such juvenile records are sealed.
Bracy said the teens moved in with him about four years ago, after living with their mother, who was not able to care for them. Discipline problems became more pronounced in the past two years.
Where they came from was a tough place. ... Its been a struggle for us to help them, Bracy said. They didnt have to do school work, they didnt have to do chores, they had no responsibilities in their previous home.
When he sent them to their rooms, he said, he discussed why they were being disciplined.
Any punishment was meant to keep them out of trouble for a little while, so they can reset, start over, Bracy said.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr