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State puts on hold settlement payment to Nubia Barahona’s brother

Date: 2014-12-14

By Mary Ellen Klas -

TALLAHASSEE —

When the state of Florida quietly agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit over the gruesome death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona and the torture of her twin brother, Victor, it all but admitted it was at fault.

Now, the Florida Department of Children and Families and lawyers for the state Legislature want to put the deal on hold and indefinitely delay final payments.

DCF agreed to settle the lawsuit in March 2013, two years after Victor was found near death and covered with pesticides alongside his sister’s decomposing body on I-95 in Palm Beach County. A 2011 DCF report concluded that, from the time Victor and Nubia Barahona entered the child welfare system as infants through Nubia’s death, their safety net was a “systemic failure.”

Ringgold woman accused of abusing adopted son says she’s innocence

Date: 2014-12-04

By Adam Cook

A Ringgold woman accused of abusing her 11-year-old adopted son is proclaiming her innocence.

Christine Evelyn Baughman, in a prepared statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3 through her attorney, said she is “innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”

“… As more light is cast upon this situation, her innocence will become apparent,” Baughman’s attorney Adam C. Cathey of Ringgold said in the statement.

“On November 25, 2014, Dr. (Henry) and Ms. Baughman were contacted by Catoosa County child protection and law enforcement authorities,” Cathey said. “At that time, Dr. and Ms. Baughman were informed of allegations having been made by an unknown third party regarding their son. Notwithstanding their full compliance with the investigation, Ms. Baughman was hastily arrested at 10:00 p.m. that evening. While the charges made against Ms. Baughman appear very serious, she wants to assure the community that she is innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”

Catoosa County Woman Arrested for Cruelty to Children

Date: 2014-12-03

A Ringgold woman faces a child cruelty charge for abusing her own son, according to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office Wednesday.

Christine Evelyn Baughman is charged with cruelty to children in the first degree, accused of physically and emotionally abusing her child. he police report indicated that the "weapon" used was an "adult belt." After a search online, NewsChannel9 found out the suspect worked in healthcare around children.

According to the incident report, the alleged abuse happened between November 19 and November 20 at the family's home at 635 Middleview Drive in Ringgold. Whitfield County case workers with the Department of Family and Children Services were called to check out the boy on November 22. That's when DFCS took photos of injuries and reported everything to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, authorities said.

Ringgold woman arrested for child abuse of adopted son

Date: 2014-12-03

By Adam Cook

A Ringgold woman was arrested for alleged child abuse two days before Thanksgiving, following an investigation of claims that she physically and emotionally abused her 11-year-old adopted son.

According to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department:

Christine Evelyn Baughman, 43, was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 25, for first-degree cruelty to children. She was released from jail the following day, Nov. 26, on a $5,000 bond.

The investigation into Baughman’s treatment of the child began with a welfare check of the boy at the family’s home on Nov. 22, after a complaint had been submitted to the Department of Family and Children Services.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was also notified of the complaint, as was child crimes detective Tim Deal with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s a joint investigation,” sheriff Gary Sisk said Wednesday, Dec. 3. “Interviews were conducted in the case, and the charge was then brought about.”

The Limits of Jurisdiction

Date: 2014-12-01

By Erin Siegal McIntyre

It’s unclear how the two-year-old broke her femur, Dr. Napoleon Castillo Molinedo told me. The Guatemalan pediatrician regularly saw the child, identified as “Karen Abigail Lopéz García” in his office records, for check-up appointments and vaccinations. Firing up a weary PC, the doctor retrieved Karen’s old records, printing out a list: ten visits in the first seven months of 2007 alone.

The adults who brought the toddler into Castillo’s office, members of the Bran family, were in the business of children. More specifically, they provided what most Americans call “foster care” for Guatemalan kids during their adoptions to mostly American families. According to Castillo, the Brans “didn’t overflow with love for the kids.”

“I charged them less per child, since they brought so much volume through my office,” the doctor said. He said the Brans claimed Karen “fell down” and broke her limb “jumping on a bed.” But he didn’t believe them.

Parents arrested for caging son, 19

Date: 2014-10-30

BY KELLY KRAGER

PARIS TOWNSHIP - The adoptive parents of several mentally and physically disabled youths were arrested on warrants requested after a sheriff’s deputy discovered they kept their legally blind and non-verbal son locked in a caged bed.

Timothy Tolin, 66, and Karen “Sue” Tolin, 65, were arraigned Tuesday in Huron County District Court on charges of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony charge, and vulnerable adult abuse-third degree, a high-court two-year misdemeanor. The Tolins were each released on a bond of $5,000, which was set by Huron County District Judge David Herrington.

The 19-year-old man was discovered Oct. 20 by Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Bismack, who had responded to a civil dispute at the Tolin home, located at 3700 Minden Road.

After speaking with the parties involved, Bismack was granted permission to enter one of the bedrooms in the home, where he found the alleged victim.

Michigan couple charged after adopted son found in cage in 'extremely unsanitary' conditions

Date: 2014-10-29

PARIS TOWNSHIP, MI — A husband and wife face a felony charge after their adopted 19-year-old son was found inside a cage in "extremely unsanitary" conditions, Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson reports.

Karen S. Tolin, 65, and Timothy E. Tolin, 66, occupants of the house where their adopted 19-year-old son was found, were arraigned in Huron County District Court Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Each is charged with a single count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony, and third-degree vulnerable adult abuse, a high court 2-year misdemeanor.

Both are free on $5,000 or 10 percent bonds, court officials said.

Police responded to investigate a civil dispute about 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, to a home at 3700 Minden Road south of Priemer, when they discovered the mentally challenged male teen in a caged bed with the door chained shut, the Huron County Sheriff's Department said in a prepared statement.

"The odor was very noticeable as the deputy began to climb the stairs," Hanson said.

Two arraigned on charges after teen found in cage in Michigan's Thumb

Date: 2014-10-28

By Brad Devereaux

PARIS TOWNSHIP, MI — Two adults were arraigned on charges of unlawful imprisonment and abuse after police found a 19-year-old "mentally disabled" man in a cage that was chained shut inside a Huron County bedroom.

Karen S. Tolin, 65, and Timothy E. Tolin, 66, both occupants of the house where the teen was found, were arraigned in Huron County District Court Tuesday, Oct. 28. Each is charged with a single count of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony, and third-degree vulnerable adult abuse, a high court 2-year misdemeanor.

Both are free on $5,000 or 10 percent bonds, court officials said.

Police responded to investigate a civil dispute about 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, to a home at 3700 Minden Road south of Priemer, when they discovered the mentally challenged male teen in a caged bed with the door chained shut, the Huron County Sheriff's Department said in a prepared statement.

The two suspects were arrested on the charges authorized by Huron County Prosecutor Tim Rutkowski.

Manitowoc County mom pleads not guilty

Date: 2014-10-16

MANITOWOC – A woman accused of child abuse for allegedly putting the child in a scalding bath pleaded not guilty.

Ruthann Gneiser waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday and pleaded not guilty, according to online court records.

No trial date was set. A plea hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.

She’s accused of beating and scalding her five-year-old son, who has Down syndrome. According to court documents, she admitted to slapping the boy repeatedly on his back. She’s also accused of making the boy sit in a bathtub filled with scalding water. Gneiser said she didn’t realize the water was too hot.

A judge previously denied Gneiser’s request to see her children. The issue of supervised contact was raised again Wednesday. The judge will hear arguments on that at a hearing Tuesday

Peoria family accused in abuse of 2 adopted sisters

Date: 2014-10-15

By Jesse A. Millard

A 24-year-old Peoria woman, whose parents are accused of abusing their 11- and 13-year-old adopted daughters, was arrested Monday in connection with the case, court documents say.

Kourtney Jorg faces two counts of child abuse and two counts of kidnapping, while her parents each face six counts of child abuse, records say.

The abuse reportedly occurred between January and May of this year.

Police say Kourtney Jorg had been living with her parents, Kimery and Johann Jorg, and her four adopted sisters, ages 13, 11, 8, and 7, at the time of the reported abuse. However, court records available on Tuesday did not detail her reported participation.

Kimery Jorg, 54, and Johann Jorg, 61, were arrested after Peoria police found that the eldest of the adopted girls was malnourished and two of them had many callouses on their hands and buttocks, records say.

Police said Kimery Jorg had previously contacted Southwest Behavioral Health, which treated the girls since their adoption five years ago, for help with the eldest, whom she described as "deviant" and "defiant."

Couple Sentenced In Abuse Of Adopted Kids Case

Date: 2014-10-15

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A couple that pleaded no contest to child endangerment charges back in June, was sentenced Monday morning.
Kristen Barbour was sentenced to 6 to 12 months incarceration, but will be eligible for alternative housing.

Douglas Barbour was sentenced to five years of probation.

The adoptive parents of the Ethiopian children gave emotional testimony about the lasting effects of the abuse, including the starvation of the boy and the physical problems of the girl. However, they said they are now thriving.

Kristen Barbour told Judge Jeffrey Manning, “I have always sought to serve others. I am not a monster….I hope they will understand my intent and have it in their heart to forgive.”

According to the criminal complaint, inside the couple’s Franklin Park home, the children were abused and assaulted.

Investigators say the boy reported that he was once thrown to the ground, hitting his head, and punished by standing in a dark bathroom.
As part of the plea agreement, the Barbours agreed to terminate their parental rights.

State settles lawsuit by abused Weller children

Date: 2014-10-10

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

The state has agreed to pay a $9.75 million settlement to five siblings who were abused for years by their parents, Jeffrey and Sandra Weller, in their Vancouver home.

The Wellers were sentenced in Clark County Superior Court in March 2013 to 20 years in prison for multiple crimes related to the abuse.

Two adopted twins, who were routinely imprisoned, beaten and starved by the Wellers, each received $3.1 million. The remaining $3.55 million of the settlement will be divided between the other three younger siblings, who are the Wellers’ biological children.

The lawsuit alleged that the state Department of Social and Health Services failed to adequately respond to dozens of complaints about the children’s welfare over an eight-year period or to investigate a history of Child Protective Services referrals involving Sandra Weller in California.

Western Pa. Mother Accused of Abusing Daughter

Date: 2014-10-10

AP

A western Pennsylvania woman has been charged with simple assault and other offenses after police say she forced her daughter to eat cat litter and started to sew her mouth shut.

Police charged Rana L. Cooper, 46, this week for what they said was excessive punishment and neglect that also included forcing her to scrape the inside of a toilet and eat what was on her finger and not being allowed to eat or use the bathroom until she earned enough points cleaning the house.

Cooper also was charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of the girl she and her husband, Richard, adopted in 2008.

A phone message left at Cooper's home in Avella was not immediately returned, and district court officials said she did not have a lawyer on file.

The allegations of physical abuse include beatings with a hair brush, being spat on and being choked to the point of blacking out.

The matter came to light in May, as child welfare authorities in Washington County were investigating an alleged assault at the girl's school.

Mom Charged In Alleged Horrific Child Abuse Case

Date: 2014-10-09

By Mary Robb Jackson

CROSS CREEK TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A Washington County woman is facing a list of charges related to the alleged disturbing abuse of her adopted daughter.

According to the criminal complaint, Rana L. Cooper, 46, was charged on Monday.

The arrest came after police were notified in May by Washington County Children and Youth Services.

Cooper is accused of forcing the child to eat used cat litter, attempting to gouge the girl’s eyes out and trying to sew her mouth shut.

The complaint also claims Cooper choked the child until she blacked out on two occasions.

She is also accused of striking the girl in the face with a belt buckle and causing hearing loss by shoving a Q-tip in her ear.

Cooper allegedly forced the child to run her finger along the rim of the toilet and eat what was on her finger.

The girl told police she was only allowed to eat one time per day, but only after the rest of the family had finished their meal.

However, the woman’s 24-year-old son Ronnie says the allegations aren’t true.

PD: Mother accused of punching, biting children in Holly Hill

Date: 2014-10-08

HOLY HILL, Fla. —A Holly Hill mother is accused of biting and punching her two children, who suffer from mental disorders, according to police.

Investigators were alerted of the alleged abuse by the victims’ pastor, according to the Holly Hill Police Department.

According to the arrest affidavit, the children told the pastor their adopted mother, 37-year-old Allison Fowler, abused them after the pastor noticed scratch and bite marks on one of the children.

Police said the children revealed several incidents in which Fowler caused them physical and emotional abuse by punching, choking and calling them names. When police interviewed the boy, he said Monday night Fowler was screaming at him so he locked himself in the bathroom. Police said when she finally got to him, she grabbed him by his throat and bit his pinky finger

They also said Fowler had beaten them so badly in the past that they each received black eyes.

Allison Fowler’s mother, Donna Fowler, told investigators she witnessed the abuse and was afraid to tell police because she was afraid her daughter would hurt her too.

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