65-year-old Jessica Banks, a former pastor, has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus 36 years and 8 months, after being found guilty of drugging and sexually and physically abusing her five daughters, aged 4 to 11.
Banks, a pastor at the Word of Life Apostolic Church in Riverside, California, kept the girls in an unheated room in her garage, where she "beat them daily with cords, sticks, high-heeled shoes, extension cords and belts, fed them spoiled food, made them take sleeping pills, and sexually abused two of them with paint sticks," according to the San Jose Mercury News. She has been sentenced to 36 years and 8 months plus two consecutive life terms for her crimes.
Banks denies the charges, stating that her daughters are "mentally disabled" and are lying about the way they were treated. One of the daughters (all of them are now in new foster homes) wrote a letter to Banks, noting ""Mom, I know somewhere in your heart you were a nice person. It was not right what you did to me and my sisters. Mom, I want you to know that I forgive you and I will be praying for you. But mom, It will never be OK what you did to me and my sisters."