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DAKOTA CITY -- An Emerson, Nebraska, husband and wife each pleaded no contest Tuesday to depriving their two teenage sons of food and excessively punishing them.

Blaine and Donella Busker both entered their pleas in Dakota County Court to single counts of misdemeanor child abuse. Judge Kurt Rager entered guilty pleas on their behalf and scheduled Donella Busker's sentencing for Dec. 18. Blaine Busker's sentencing was set for Dec. 19.

Both of them entered plea agreements in which a second count of child abuse will be dismissed.

Blaine Busker, 41, and Donella Busker, 38, were arrested in August on allegations that they neglected and deprived the two boys of food from Jan. 1 through June 18.

According to court documents, the Buskers kept padlocks on the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards in their rural Emerson home so the boys couldn't eat without permission.

The two also are accused of punishing the boys by sitting on them and making it hard for them to breathe.

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