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Arizona couple accused of child abuse plead not guilty

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona couple accused of repeatedly beating their two adopted daughters and leaving them severely malnourished pleaded not guilty on Monday to child abuse charges, court officials said.

Johann Glenn Jorg, 61, and Kimery Lynn Jorg, 54, entered the pleas during separate arraignments in Maricopa County Superior Court for allegedly abusing the 13-year-old and 11-year-old girls, officials said.

    The Jorgs were indicted last week on six felony charges. They were arrested on June 5 after child welfare workers raised the alarm following a visit to the couple's home in Peoria, a northern suburb of Phoenix, court records show.

Investigators said the elder daughter was so emaciated that she had to be hospitalized, with the 5-foot-tall (1.52-meter) girl weighing 60 pounds (27 kg) upon admission.

Police said the girls endured punishments included being forced to live in a tent in the backyard nude or clad in a diaper, and being beaten with a wooden paddle.

The daughters were also made to run for 60 minutes in the heat each day, and to write down, recite and explain Bible verses, authorities said. If they made mistakes, they would have to run longer, according to court documents. 

    The parents told police that the children, who were being home-schooled, were being justly punished for lying and stealing, authorities said.

The Jorgs remain in custody on $100,000 bond each.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham)

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