Ponsford man sentenced in felony child neglect case
Douglas Eugene Brugier, 36, of Moorhead, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court on felony and gross misdemeanor charges of child endangerment/neglect.
According to court records, he was one of two Ponsford residents charged with neglecting seven children. Social workers observed the children were living in poor conditions, and suffered a variety of health issues, including skin infections, staph infections, dental issues, lice, and sores and scabs, among others, according to court records.
Bruguier was charged Jan. 24 with one felony charge and six gross misdemeanor charges of neglect or endangerment of a child. The other five gross misdemeanor charges were dropped in a plea agreement.
According to court records, on Dec. 9, 2019, Becker County sheriff’s officers and child protection workers responded to a report of neglect of seven children at a residence in rural Ponsford.
Nobody answered when they knocked on the door, but they could hear kids inside the house. After a warning, an officer eventually had to kick in the door.
Bruguier initially wouldn’t let the law enforcement officers inside, but let the social workers enter, according to court records. The social workers observed that several of the children had significant lice infestations and untreated maladies that require medical attention. The home was filthy, with cockroaches on the walls, according to court records. The children were taken into protective custody.
One child, who had missed school for two weeks, was in severe pain, with one ankle swollen and the other in pain, and needed crutches to walk, according to court records. The child had earlier been diagnosed with strep throat, but nobody had picked up the antibiotics needed to treat the infection.
At the hospital, the child was found to have a temperature of 101.9, with severe joint pain and trouble walking, and had to be transported to a Fargo, N.D., hospital by ambulance due to a heart condition.
Failing to treat the strep had resulted in the child having rheumatic fever, carditis (an inflamed heart) and polyarthritis (inflammation of four or more joints), as well as a lice infestation, according to court records
In order to recover, the child will need seven years of monitoring with penicillin benzathine shots every 21-28 days, according to the criminal complaint.
The other six children suffered from a variety of health issues related to neglect, according to court records.
On Sept. 8, Becker County District Judge Mike Fritz stayed imposition of sentence and placed Brugier on supervised probation for five years. On the felony charge, he was ordered to serve 20 days in jail and pay a $500 fine and $590 in court fees. He was ordered to get a chemical dependency evaluation and follow the recommendations, including aftercare, and is now in a treatment center in Moorhead.
On the gross misdemeanor charge, Fritz sentenced him to serve 345 days in jail, all but 20 days stayed two years, and fined him $500. He was placed on supervised probation for two years.