Couple plead guilty to lesser charge
The couple were charged in April after a maintenance inspection.
By JEANNE STARMACK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- A couple who were each charged with child endangering after their two children were found in a filthy house have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Joseph and Rachel Sattarelle entered pleas to disorderly conduct, a minor misdemeanor, in Mahoning County Court here Wednesday.
The Sattarelles were charged in April after their landlord asked township police for an escort during a maintenance inspection at the Viall Road house.
Police described the interior as being littered with animal feces, toys, clothes and trash. Jugs of urine were also found in the house, which had no running water.
What landlord said
The landlord, Daniel Fizet, acknowledged in April that he had the water shut off. Fizet said he had tried to evict the family, giving a notice in January after the family fell behind on rent.
The landlord said the Sattarelles were supposed to pay for gas, electricity and water, but were behind. He had the utilities turned off because he could not afford to pay the bills. The Sattarelles said they were able to have their gas and electricity turned back on.
At a hearing on the eviction in April before their arrest, the Sattarelles were given permission from the court to have the water turned back on, Fizet has said. The Sattarelles said the water company would not do so without a written rental agreement, and they said they could not get that.
After the Sattarelles were arrested, the Mahoning County Health District said that dwelling and premises rules require running water, and the property owner must provide it.
While the water was shut off, the Sattarelles were buying water each week at a car wash, Rachel Sattarelle said.
She said the jugs of urine were the result of her husband trying not to flush the toilet often. She said laundry piled up, and it was harder to keep the house clean.
Sent to Children Services
The Sattarelles' two children, a girl, 10, and a boy, 4, were turned over to Mahoning County Children Services. They went to live with Rachel Sattarelle's mother in Austintown, while Joseph Sattarelle stayed with his mother in Youngstown.
Rachel Sattarelle was told she was not allowed to stay overnight with her children at her mother's, and she stayed at a hotel.
In court Tuesday, the Sattarelles said they were looking forward to a plea agreement, which their attorney was negotiating. Their case had been set for trial but Rachel Sattarelle said she just wanted the ordeal to be over.
The couple said they have another house now, in Canfield, where they have lived for 2/1/2 months. Children Services visits there once a month, Rachel said. The children are still with her mother, she said, but the couple hopes that the family will be reunited soon. She said how soon depended on what happened at court.
Children Services had no comment.
Parents are trying
Sattarelle said she attended parenting classes, which Atty. Don Hanni Sr. noted during her plea. He also said she has undergone drug rehabilitation.
Joseph Sattarelle said he has been working "six days a week" hanging drywall.
The Sattarelles were each ordered to pay a $150 fine plus $65 court costs. Joseph Sattarelle was also ordered to pay $30 in fines and court costs for a seat-belt violation that was still pending in court. A probation violation for domestic violence is still open until Joseph Sattarelle pays fines and court costs in full.