07/04/2013 05:39 EDT | Updated 09/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Nine more adults charged in Manitoba child-abuse case

WINNIPEG - The number of adults charged with child abuse in a small Manitoba Mennonite community has grown to 13.

Nine adults are facing new charges in addition to four people charged previously, Cpl. Miles Hiebert of the Manitoba RCMP said Thursday.

"There have been 13 people charged with various offences in relation to that ongoing investigation," said Hiebert. "We are not naming the community."

Almost two dozen children were seized from the southern Manitoba community in March following accusations in court documents that some boys and girls were assaulted with cattle prods, whips and leather straps. Documents from Manitoba Family Services show the ages of the children range from nine months to 15 years.

Two adults from the tiny orthodox community were charged in March with various counts of assault and assault with a weapon on several youngsters between July 2011 and January of this year. Two more adults appeared in court in late June to face similar charges involving 12 alleged victims.

The allegations are similar — that the assaults were repeated and over roughly the same 18-month time frame.

Court documents show the children seized are from five families, including one family of nine kids ranging in age from one to 13.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. The identities of the children are protected under a publication ban.