A man who won national recognition as a committed foster father appears to have had sickening ulterior motives, according to authorities.
The outlet said the charging documents accused Marler of a range of pedophilic acts including touching his children’s genitalia, groping them, exposing his own genitalia and rubbing against their bodies.
The acts are alleged to have taken place over 10 years between Dec. 31, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2021.
Among the other charges against Marler are five counts of battery against four minors and a single count of child endangerment of a fifth.
Steven Marler, a Casper man who has been nationally recognized for being a foster father, now faces 26 criminal charges that include alleged sexual abuse of some of those children.https://t.co/f6sZ4pkYkL
— Cowboy State Daily (@daily_cowboy) January 4, 2024
Marler’s wife, Kristen, faced a charge of misdemeanor child endangerment in May 2022.
After she pleaded no contest to the charge, a judge gave her a deferral to dismiss the case altogether if she completed two years of unsupervised probation. That period will end in May.
The charges paint a very different picture than the couple had publicly created for themselves.
In 2013, they received an “Adoption Excellence Award” from the federal Administration for Children and Families.
“Honesty, integrity and compassion are key traits of Mr. and Mrs. Marler and extend to their biological children, who are described as equally accepting and responsible as their parents,” the agency said in a statement announcing their award.
“The Marlers’ motivation for becoming foster parents was to support biological parents who are unable to care for their children,” it said.
“They accomplish this by encouraging and working directly with biological and extended families to help them toward reunification,” the agency said. “They have an exceptional ability and willingness to respect the children’s relationship with their parents.”
In his 2014 State of the State address, then-Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead honored the Marlers, describing them as “amazing” and congratulating them on the award.
In a 2018 “Wyoming’s Worthy” tribute by KWYY-FM in Casper, Kristen Marler was quoted as saying, “Neither Steven or I had any personal connection to foster care, but we had always felt called to it. Even before we were married we agreed that it was something we wanted to do.”
“It’s clear to see that what the Marler’s are doing is contributing to creating a better Wyoming,” the article said.
On Dec. 29, however, in an interview with KTWO-AM in Casper, the couple’s foster daughter Kambria said Steven Marler had been arrested.
She said she and her siblings lived in a “house of horrors” where they were repeatedly subject to shocking levels of abuse, including vicious physical attacks.
“Kambria alleges that Kristen and Steve began withholding food from the children as a form of punishment,” KTWO reported.
“She would get so hungry she would eat dog food and says she even took raw meat off of animals hanging in the garage,” it said.
“I’m pretty sure all of us have had concussions,” Kambria said of herself and her siblings.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled in Natrona County Circuit Court on Jan. 19.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.