LONDON -- An American couple living in Uganda has been charged with aggregated torture for their alleged treatment of a 10-year-old child they were fostering, according to a statement from the Uganda Police Force.
Nicholas Spencer and Mackenzie Leigh Mathias Spencer, both 32, were charged with aggravated torture in Buganda Road Court on Dec. 9, police said. They were later charged with child trafficking, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
The Spencers pleaded not guilty to the aggravated torture charge, AP reported.
The couple arrived in Uganda as volunteers in 2017, police said in a statement announcing the initial charges.
The couple fostered three children in 2018, including the one they were alleged to have tortured, from an organization called Welcome Ministry, in Jinja City, police said. The couple then joined a private company and moved to Upper Naguru, a neighborhood in Kampala, the capital, police said.
The couple allegedly "constantly tortured" one of their foster children between 2020 and 2022, which "attracted the attention of neighbours," who notified Kampala Metropolitan police, according to the statement.
The child was allegedly kept during the day in a cold room without clothes and was allegedly made to stand or crouch in awkward positions, police said.
"[H]e spent his nights on a wooden platform, without a mattress or beddings and was served cold meals from the fridge," the statement said. "We believe, the victim could have endured more severe acts of torture, away from the camera."