FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- A church is coming to the defense of a Larimer County couple charged with abusing their three adopted children.

Steven and Edelwina Leschinsky will stand trial in May for felony child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The girls were 12, 13 and 14 last year when they told police they were punished by being forced to hit each other. They also told investigators that while at the family home in Johnstown, they were forced to complete extreme exercise, including 45 miles of running over three days, and push-ups to exhaustion over a board bristling with nails.

Edelwina and Steven Leschinsky (credit: Larimer County Sheriff)

The Knights of Columbus in Loveland, where Steven is a member, and the Saint Johns Church in Johnstown, are hosting a fundraiser for the couple.

The priest told CBS4’s Mike Hooker that he didn’t want to talk about the fundraiser. A church bulletin from mid-March includes an announcement that reads, “The Leschinsky family is in need of our help to cover the $100,000 needed for their defense fund against false charges being leveled at their family… Let’s all pull together to help this persecuted family.”

Two people contacted CBS4, upset about the fundraiser. They wanted to remain anonymous, but said any fund raising should be to help the three sisters, not their adoptive parents who will be on trial.

On Friday night, there is a fundraiser for the Leschinskys hosted by a church and a service club.