Harper makes first court appearance in child abuse case

Harper makes first court appearance in child abuse case

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by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 3 at 7:21 PM

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- The boyfriend of a Union County DSS supervisor charged with child abuse appeared in court Monday for the first time since the couple was indicted.

Dorian Harper walked into a Union County courtroom Monday wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs. Wanda Sue Larson was on the docket but did not appear; her case is scheduled to be heard in court Tuesday morning.

December’s indictments show the abuse Harper and Larson allegedly inflicted upon an 11-year-old boy under their guardianship was worse than initially thought when deputies arrested them in November.

For Harper, it includes allegedly handcuffing the boy to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck at their home on Austin Road, cutting the boy's face bad enough to cause a scar, burning him with electrical wire and failing to get the boy medical attention.

Harper's appearance lasted just a few minutes.

The judge asked if he's seen the indictment. Harper answered yes.

The judge asked if he wanted a court-appointed attorney. Again, Harper answered yes.

Then judge asked if Harper’s financial condition improved since he last appeared before the court.

“No, it's actually worse than what it was,” Harper replied.

That's because Harper has been in jail for two and a half months and lost his job as a nurse at CMC Union after his arrest.

A judge declared Harper indigent and set April 1 as his next court date. Harper's attorney says they are lining up four to five witnesses for that hearing.

The District Attorney's office said they just received a lot of documentation about Harper's case they're just now starting to review.

The state is looking into all cases Larson handled. Reports say investigators are looking into the treatment of more than 30 kids under Larson and Harper’s care over the years.

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