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Pastor, Wife Cast Naked Son Into The Cold 13-Year-Old Found Shivering, Parents Face Abuse Charges

A minister and his school psychologist wife face charges of sending their 13-year-old son naked into a cold, rainy night as punishment.

Joseph Yeaney was found the next day shivering in a neighbor’s barn about a quarter-mile from home, wearing only a choir robe he took from his father’s nearby church.

“He was made to strip nude and go outside to think about what he had done,” Sullivan County Sheriff Keith Carr said Wednesday. “Obviously, he was quite cold, shaking uncontrollably,”

The temperature was in the 30s when Joseph was turned out the night of Jan. 16. His mother, Donna Yeaney, reported him missing eight hours later and he was found the next morning. Joseph, who was adopted, was placed in state custody.

The sheriff wouldn’t say what the boy had done but said it wasn’t the first time the punishment was used on the seventh-grader.

The couple have two biological children who were never punished that way, Carr said.

Stephen Yeaney, 40, the pastor of Rock Springs United Methodist Church, and Mrs. Yeaney, 39, who works for the Scott County, Va., school system, were indicted Tuesday on child abuse charges. They were released on $2,000 bond, pending a hearing March 27.

The pastor wouldn’t comment when reached at home Wednesday.