Orange City, Iowa — A Hawarden man was sentenced to prison, and his wife to probation, in Sioux County District Court Monday on multiple charges of Child Endangerment.
Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says Matthew and Nina Spaans both pled guilty to four counts of child endangerment. The State recommended both Mathew and Nina be sentenced to up to 4-years in prison each. However, Kunstle says the Court sentenced Matthew to such a prison term, but suspended Nina’s sentence, allowing her to serve a period of probation with the possibility that she resides at the residential treatment facility in Sioux City, as determined by her probation officer.
According to Kunstle, the sentences stem from a case that arose in February of last year when the couple’s childdren began telling authorities that various injuries they had received over the last two and a half years were inflicted by Matthew Spaans. Kunstle says that all children were removed from the couple’s home at that time.
According to Kunstle, the physical abuse included Matthew Spaans hitting a child with a metal sword, hitting a child on the head with a plastic shovel breaking the shovel, pushing a child under a recliner and repeatedly slamming the footrest shut, pushing a child inside a dryer, and attempting to break a child’s arm. Before February 2017, Kunstle says the children were claiming their injuries were caused by accidental means, though some were, according to medical authorities, clearly inflicted. He says the children were fearful to tell the truth as their mother, Nina Spaans, threatened they would never see each other again. Nina reportedly further directed them to share false explanations for their injuries when questioned by school officials.