The charges were filed last November after investigators learned the boy, one of the Hauers' four children, had been denied food and possibly physically abused. The Hauers have said the boy had problems that led to an eating disorder when he was originally placed in their home as a foster child. The boy told investigators he wasn't allowed to eat, was spanked frequently with a broom and a board, and was left outside for long periods of time.
The boy was taken to a hospital by Mona Hauer a year ago after he ate a frozen treat he had taken from a freezer without permission. She thought it was blood, so she brought the boy to the hospital in Mankato. He was transferred to Rochester after doctors realized he was so malnourished his body could not properly digest food.
Victim impact statements read by the boy's current foster mother, Robin Burow, described how he has changed since he was taken out of the Hauers' home just north of North Mankato on Highway 169. A statement the boy prepared himself, with the help of a computer program that asked specific questions, also was read by Burow.
Burow's husband, Loren, is Mona Hauer's brother. Robin Burow said the boy and his two siblings, who are still living with the Hauers, were originally brought to them for foster care when they were taken from their birth mother's home. The Burows were happy when they found out the Hauers would be adopting the children and keeping them in the family. That changed about five years ago when Mona Hauer cut off ties with the Burows. They were shocked to see the boy's condition when he was returned to their care during the investigation of the Hauers.
"Those first transitional weeks were pretty rough for everyone," Robin Burow said. "As (the boy) got more comfortable, he shared more and more what life was like with the Hauers. The isolation, corporal punishment and their 'fix-it' plan solutions were just the opposite of what a child of trauma responds positively to.