PA deputy attorney general, wife charged with child endangerment
A state deputy attorney general and his wife have been charged with child endangerment and assault against two children they adopted from Ethiopia earlier this year.
Douglas B. Barbour 33, and Kristen B. Barbour, 30, of Franklin Park were charged Thursday with two counts of child endangerment against their 6-year-old son and 18-month-daughter. Each also received an aggravated assault charge against their daughter. Mr. Barbour was charged with simple assault against his son.
"The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is in the process of reviewing the criminal complaint and will closely monitor the charges as they progress through the criminal justice system," according to a statement from Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly
"Mr. Barbour faces a felony offense. Under OAG policy, he will be suspended without pay pending the resolution of the charges. At this time, our thoughts are with the children and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully with this investigation."
Allegheny County police are leading the investigation.
The Barbours' daughter is the victim of physical child abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to Dr. Rachel Berger of Children's Hospital of UPMC of Pittsburgh, whose examinations of the children was referenced in the criminal complaint.
Ms. Barbour told hospital personnel last month that their daughter has a history of banging her head, but the extent of her injuries and the fact that she had no underlying medical problem does not support that, Dr. Berger said in the complaint.
The Barbours' 6-year-old son is "the victim of significant neglect and possible emotional abuse over a prolonged period of time," Dr. Berger said in the complaint.
Doctors who evaluated the boy determined his skin lesions were likely the result of ongoing contact to urine. He was experiencing weight loss at home but ate voraciously and gained weight -- without medical treatment -- when fed at the hospital, according to hospital personnel cited in the complaint.
The boy told a doctor that when he soiled his pants, his parents would make him stand or eat dinner in the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities noted his room contained no furnishings, decorations or window treatments: only a mattress on the floor with sheets.
Dr. Berger recommended the children be removed from the home and cease contact with their parents. She told authorities the Barbours' daughter is likely to be reinjured or killed if she returns.
"I have been part of the Children Protection Team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact," she said in the complaint.
I told you they had no moral right to prosecute me!
Why did these two ever want to adopt?
Is this the one that went after Sandusky?
R4, this Deputy AG may have been involved, but the prosecution of Sandusky was done by the AG of PA herself.
Pennsylvania should be walled up and all the inhabitants gassed.
How horrifying. This on the heels of criticism of some U.S. adoptive parents. I think both Vietnam and Russia investigated and/or halted adoptions to U.S. parents. This abuse case goes so far beyond the others I've heard of.
There was the woman in Alaska who made her Russian son eat hot sauce and then made him stand in a cold shower (presented on tape on Dr. Phil). I believe she was prosecuted and Russian authorities, of course, raised a stink. Then there was the Ohio single mom who decided she no longer wanted her adopted Russian son so she pinned a note on him and put him on a Russia-bound plane by himself. (what many a biological parent say to their kids when they're being particularly nasty "If you were adopted..."). I digress.
The foreign adoption angle makes me wonder if they sent off for some future indentured servants they could raise and inculcate with a passive and subservient mentality. Either that or drugs got a hold of them and there was some type of a precipitous decline, but an asst. AG? Surely someone around would have noticed signs of that.
I think these people, while clearly awful to begin with, found themselves in over their heads with this adoption.
Children adopted from impoverished countries often have special needs. They have likely been subjected to serious abuse and neglect since birth. Furthermore, their mothers probably did not receive adequate prenatal care and/or possibly engaged in behaviors that endangered fetal development.
The effects of inadequate prenatal care are exasperated if the child does not receive nurturing and proper nutrition before the age of five. If that is the case, the child is going to have a whole host of problems - difficulty in bonding and various behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and other health issues.
That is not to say that these children should not be adopted. They should be adopted by people who fully understand what they are getting into and are able to provide the intensive care that these children will need.
I am willing to guess that the little boy had some serious behavioral issues and these self-centered dolts - instead of giving him the care he needed - reacted with violence and resentment.
I would guess they regarded these children as being like strays animals - that they were owed gratitude by the children for taking them away from third world misery and bringing them into a privileged home. When they didn't get it and when the children behaved in the only ways they know how, the true, awful selves of these seemingly upstanding individuals were revealed.
Isn't it usually really low-class, ignorant people who perpetrate this kind of crime? It's all the more shocking to me that this couple is well-educated, well-to-do and high-status.