The North Mankato couple accused of starving one of their four children is in court today ... fighting to maintain their parental rights.
A trial date for the week of January 7th has been set for the termination of parental rights for Mona and Russell Hauer of rural North Mankato, stemming from the criminal charges of neglecting their eight-year-old adoptive son.
The prosecution is arguing that the alleged abuse goes beyond just the one child.
Michelle Zehnder Fischer with the Nicollet County Attorney's Office says, "In any home where a child is being abused, whether it's being neglected or being physically assaulted - witnessing that, taking part in that, has a an emotional impact on the siblings that I don't think is grasped."
The child is living with an aunt outside of Mankato and considering attending school there, if the judge overrules the Hauers, who still want to home school the child.
The child has reportedly gained 15 pounds and grown two inches since being taken away a month ago. He weighed less than 35 pounds when first taken to the hospital.
Defense attorney for the Hauer's, Jason Kohlmeyer says there's no reason to take the other three away, and that his clients were merely doing what therapists told them to.
"They took what they heard from that, and simply tried to use that on the eight-year-old. And that was the critical mistake. The fundamental mistake where they would say we wish we could go back and get the child into treatment. We didn't know he was as severely troubled as he was, as the other children were.'