York County man found guilty of hiding children - abc27 WHTM

York County

York County man found guilty of hiding children

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) -

A York County judge found a man guilty of charges that he hid his five children from the world for years.

Sinhue Johnson's case was decided by Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn, who found him guilty on five counts of child endangerment.

Investigators said the 47-year-old father hid his children in a row home on South Duke Street in York with no heat, power or running water. 

"The air was thick," Police Inspector Dana Ward said of the home in court on Tuesday.

He said there was also mold and holes in the ceilings of the home.

According to investigators, Johnson's children did not go to school, have birth certificates or go to the doctor. Johnson said they were living off the grid, something he did intentionally for religious reasons.

Prosecutor Amy Eyser said, "The state can still step in if a child is being endangered even if its for a religious purpose."

When Johnson was arrested in November of 2010, his children ranged in age from 2-years-old to 13-years-old. They are currently in foster care and abc27 has confirmed that a case is pending against one of the foster parents for allegations of sexual abuse.

Johnson said his children were highly educated by himself and their mother and that they went on field trips to places like state parks and recycling centers. He also said his children didn't have birth certificates because his religious beliefs condemn "marking people with numbers."

He said his religion was also the reason his children never went to the doctor.

Raising your children is "a right in this country, at least I thought it was," Johnson testified Tuesday.

Johnson has already spent more time in jail waiting for the trial than he could have been sentenced for but he is planning an appeal.

"My children were healthy and safe and it will come out that there is evidence that they were outside that house," he said.

Because of the lack of birth certificates, Ward testified that he didn't know the Johnson children existed until late August 2009.

The children's mother pleaded no contest in 2010, one year after the children were discovered.

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