Tortured teen case: Mother due in court today

ESCANABA – A mother who pleaded guilty to torturing and abusing her 15-year-old son for years at her Escanaba home is scheduled to be sentenced in Delta County Circuit Court today.

Susan Marie Bardo, 46, of Escanaba, will be sentenced on one count of torture and one count of first-degree child abuse. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Bardo and her boyfriend, Carl James Pellinen, 47, were arrested on April 12 after police found the teen living upstairs in an 8-by-10-foot room made with tarps. A relative of the boy had requested police check on the child’s welfare.

Pellinen is scheduled to be sentenced in circuit court on Aug. 19. He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree child abuse and pleaded no contest to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, each a life felony.

Investigation by Escanaba Public Safety revealed the boy was tortured and sexually abused by the couple since 2007.

According to the defendants’ testimonies, the teen was sometimes tied to a chair and fed only one meal a day. He did not attend school and was threatened he would be hurt by others if he went outside.

During their individual plea hearings in June, in exchange for their guilty pleas to the above charges, one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Bardo was dismissed and one count of torture against Pellinen was dismissed.

Pellinen and Bardo have been lodged in Delta County Jail without bond since their arrests this spring. The teen has been under the care of Child Protective Services.

Read about Bardo’s sentencing on the Daily Press website today and in Wednesday’s Daily Press.