Adolfo Gomez, 53, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after binding and blindfolding his children because he claimed they were possessed. Gomez was also ordered to serve 24 months of post-release supervision after serving his 30 months.
Two children, ages 5 and 7, were found in the family's vehicle outside of a Wal-Mart. Their eyes were covered and hands and feet bound; three older children were also inside the vehicle, but they were unbound.
During a hearing, Gomez told officials he had bound the children because a "darkness had come over" their home in Northlake, Ill. He had been listening to an online preacher who was predicting the end of the world at the time, and Gomez said that the younger children were acting out during Bible studies in the vehicle.
"Darkness had come over the house, and the world was coming to an end, and that's why they left," Detective Randy Glidewell testified. One of the younger children was "acting like he was possessed. He (Adolfo) was scared the child would hurt some of the kids."
One of the older children also told police that the Gomez family believed in demons and thought that there were demons in their home and vehicle.
"Their actions were taken out of their religious beliefs, that these children were possessed," Adolfo's lawyer, Skip Griffy, testified.
The children's mother, Deborah, was also arrested and charged with child endangerment. She pleaded no contest and was given one year of probation. Her lawyer maintained that Deborah was an unwilling participant and that the idea was all Adolfo's idea and doing.
"She was doing her best to protect herself and her children when Mr. Gomez was having a kind of religious experience. You have not heard anything that these children's lives were in any danger in any way," Deborah's lawyer, Angela Keck, noted.
"I love my children very much," Deborah said at her sentencing.
All five children have been removed from the Gomez's custody and are in protective custody. Deborah added that she wants to move her children to Arizona, which is where the family was headed when she was arrested.