Case news

Most recent articles added to the case archives



Sexual abuse of foster daughter admitted

Date: 2013-11-11

Sexual abuse of foster daughter admitted
By STEPHEN RYAN Nov. 11, 2013, 11 p.m.

A NEWCASTLE man who used his foster daughter as a virtual sex slave had ‘‘a total disregard for her as a human being’’ at a time when she was ‘‘utterly alone and had nowhere to turn’’, a prosecutor told the district court yesterday.

The paedophile, who cannot be identified, claimed to have no memory of at least a year of sexually assaulting the teen despite him buying her lingerie, pornographic magazines and regularly forcing her to drink alcohol before the assaults, Newcastle District Court heard.

The sexual encounters were part of a heinous household routine on Tuesdays and Saturdays with the offender, aged in his 60s, having to inject his penis with prescription medication in order to achieve an erection, a statement of facts said.

Prosecutor Greg Coles said the girl, who was aged 14 and 15 at the times of the assaults, was in desperate need of support, but was instead subjected to a ‘‘sexual predator’’.

Baby at centre of adoption row under care of welfare

Date: 2013-11-11

Baby at centre of adoption row under care of welfare

By George Psyllides

A NEWBORN boy at the centre of an illegal adoption investigation has been placed in the care of the welfare office as his parents, arrested along with three others, including a doctor, were due to be released.

The baby, currently being looked after at Larnaca hospital under police guard, has been put in the care of the welfare office by court order.

Police said five suspects detained for two days on Saturday were due to be released as investigations continue.

Police arrested a Larnaca gynaecologist, 48, the child’s biological parents – both Bulgarian nationals – and the adoptive parents from Famagusta in connection with the case.

A court heard on Saturday that the Bulgarian mother had agreed to take €10,000 to give her child for adoption.

It started in April this year when the Bulgarian woman, 38, visited the doctor wanting to have an abortion.
The gynaecologist allegedly advised her to keep the baby and that he would assume the cost.

At the end of the remand hearing, the mother said she wanted her child back.

Hana's Story: An adoptee's tragic fate, and how it could happen again.

Date: 2013-11-10


An adoptee's tragic fate, and how it could happen again.

By Kathryn Joyce

1 "Like She's in a Dark Room"

On the night of May 11, 2011, sometime around midnight, 13-year-old Hana Williams fell face-forward in her parents’ backyard. Adopted from Ethiopia three years before, Hana was naked and severely underweight. Her head had recently been shaved, and her body bore the scars of repeated beatings with a plastic plumbing hose. Inside the house, her adoptive mother, 42-year-old Carri Williams, and a number of Hana’s eight siblings had been peering out the window for the past few hours, watching as Hana staggered and thrashed around, removed her clothing in what is known as hypothermic paradoxical undressing and fell repeatedly, hitting her head. According to Hana’s brother Immanuel, a deaf 10-year-old also adopted from Ethiopia, the family appeared to be laughing at her.

Baby held after illegal adoption

Date: 2013-11-09

Baby held after illegal adoption

A Larnaca gynaecologist, 48, and four other people – two couples – were remanded in custody for two days on Saturday in connection with the illegal adoption of a newborn baby that allegedly involved paying its parents €10,000.

Police said they arrested the child’s biological parents, a Bulgarian couple, and the Famagusta couple who wanted to adopt the baby.
The would-be adoptive mother is the doctor’s cousin, reports said.

It all started in April this year when the Bulgarian woman, 38, visited the doctor wanting to have an abortion.

The gynaecologist allegedly advised her to keep the baby and that he would assume the cost.

On top of that, the court heard that the adoptive couple had agreed to pay the mother €10,000.

The mother allegedly agreed. She gave birth to a boy on Wednesday and left the clinic on Friday without the baby, who was going to be handed over to the 41-year-old adoptive mother.

Ethiopian girl lands in Maine after long, sad journey of adoption

Date: 2013-11-07

(NECN: Marnie MacLean, Windham, Maine) - As she walks through campus, there is nothing that sets Tarikuwa Lemma apart from the other freshmen at a college in Maine.

But a closer look reveals a young woman who has been on a long and painful journey - a journey that starts in her home country of Ethiopia.

"My mom died when I was 10," said Tarikuwa.

When her mother died, Tarikuwa says her widowed father struggled financially to care for her and her siblings. It made him vulnerable to brokers who profit when they provide children to adoption agencies.

"It brought in the adoption recruits for people who are friends with my father to come into our homes and tell him that this is a great opportunity to send your children to America to get a great education," she said.

Tarikuwa's father agreed to send her and two of her sisters to America.

What none of them understood was he had given them up for adoption. They were adopted by a family in Virginia who thought they were saving orphaned children.

Adoptive brother convicted of abusing, starving girl

Date: 2013-11-05

By Diana Hefley

EVERETT -- The girl wrapped her arms around the deputy prosecutor and squeezed.

A jury had confirmed on Tuesday what the pair knew was the truth all along -- the girl's adoptive brother abused and mistreated the child when he should have protected her.

It only took jurors three hours to convict Derron Alexis, 44. The former airplane mechanic denied being responsible for the girl's condition when the 10-year-old was rescued from his home in 2011.

She weighed just 51 pounds. Her body had lost nearly all its fat and had started metabolizing her muscles for energy. She had scars from being whipped with electrical cords and burned with lit cigarettes. She was kept in diapers and forced to sleep in a bathtub. The girl alleged that Alexis forced her to stay in a dog crate so he could sleep.

The man testified Monday that he never wanted his adoptive sister to live with him and his former girlfriend Mary Mazalic. His mother sent the girl, then 9, to Washington because she didn't want the child in special education classes.

Mazalic was convicted last year of abusing the girl. She is serving 30 years in prison.

Child abuse was ex's fault, Mukilteo man testifies

Date: 2013-11-05

By Diana Hefley

EVERETT -- A Mukilteo man on trial for the abuse of his 10-year-old adoptive sister spent Monday distancing himself from the girl and the woman who was paid to care for the child.

Derron Alexis, 44, told the jury that he was against plans to have the girl live with him and his former girlfriend. He said he already had his hands full with his job as an airplane mechanic and taking care of Mary Mazalic, a woman who claimed to be disabled because of a myriad of health problems.

"I knew I couldn't be there to give her what she needs," Alexis said.

His mother and Mazalic were behind the arrangement to have the girl move to Washington from New York. He told jurors he was never in charge of the girl's care. He also said he never had any indication that she was being abused or needed medical attention.

Alexis testified for about three hours Monday. His mother, who sent the child to live with Mazalic and Alexis in 2010, also was called as a witness for the defense. Jurors likely will begin deliberations today.

Momma Mia!

Date: 2013-11-01

Momma Mia!
Grounded in her human-rights work, Mia Farrow can look back at another triumph—the loving home she created for 14 adopted and biological children. But she must also continue to deal with the wreckage from the sensational scandal that almost rent it apart 20 years ago. From Farrow and eight of her kids, including the long-silent Dylan, Maureen Orth gets the full story of life before and after Woody Allen.

By Maureen Orth

Rilya Wilson: Geralyn Graham won't be retried for murder

Date: 2013-10-30

Rilya Wilson: Geralyn Graham won't be retried for murder

Geralyn Graham , who was convicted of kidnapping and child abuse in the case of 4-year-old foster child Rilya Wilson (pictured), has been sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Photographer: AP Graphics Bank

Posted: 10/30/2013

MIAMI - MIAMI (AP) -- Prosecutors in Miami have decided not to retry the caretaker of long-missing child Rilya Wilson on a murder charge.

A memo released Wednesday by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office recommends the charge be dismissed against Geralyn Graham. The 68-year-old Graham was sentenced earlier this year to 55 years in prison on kidnapping and child abuse charges, but jurors deadlocked on the murder count.

The memo cites numerous difficulties with another trial, including the fact that Rilya's body was never found.

Four-year-old Rilya vanished in December 2000 from Graham's home but her disappearance wasn't noticed for 15 months, largely because a Department of Children and Families caseworker neglected to check on her.

U.S. Lawmakers Call for Action to Curb Internet Child Trading

Date: 2013-10-29

U.S. Lawmakers Call for Action to Curb Internet Child Trading

By Megan Twohey
CHICAGO | Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:37pm EDT

U.S. adoptive mother gets 37 years for Ethiopian girl's death

Date: 2013-10-29

Jonathan Kaminsky
Reuters

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A U.S. woman was sentenced to 37 years in prison on Tuesday for starving her Ethiopia-born adopted daughter and leaving her to die outside in the cold in Washington state.

Stay-at-home mother Carri Williams, 42, was convicted last month of homicide by abuse in connection with the 2011 death of 13-year-old Hana Williams, who was adopted in 2008.

The girl's father, Larry Williams, 49, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced on Tuesday to 28 years in prison, a representative in the clerk's office said. The jury deadlocked on a charge of homicide by abuse against the man, who worked for the Boeing Co.

The family lived in Sedro-Woolley, a town about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Hana Williams died of hypothermia in May 2011 after being found bruised and unconscious in the backyard shortly after midnight in temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), authorities said.

Trial begins in death of 3-year-old girl

Date: 2013-10-29

Trial begins in death of 3-year-old girl
BY MICHELLE CASADY : OCTOBER 29, 2013

SAN ANTONIO — A man whose 3-year-old adopted daughter died of blunt head trauma nearly five years ago entered a not guilty plea Tuesday to causing serious bodily injury to the child by omission.

Norberto Velasquez, 49, could face up to life in prison if jurors in the 144th state District Court find him guilty of the first-degree felony.

His partner, Matthew Oscar Aranda, 48, has been charged with murder for the death of Melody Velasquez. That case is still pending.

Aranda and Velasquez finalized their adoption of Melody in December 2008, and she died on Jan. 10, 2009, prosecutor Daryl Harris told jurors during opening statements.

“Melody was only four months old when placed in his home,” he said, explaining she had been taken from her biological parents by Child Protective Services after allegations of abuse and neglect surfaced. “So in the very real sense, he was the only father, and this was the only home that young Melody knew in her three years.”

Police: Woman accused of beating adopted child with wooden spoon

Date: 2013-10-28

Police: Woman accused of beating adopted child with wooden spoon
by WHAS11

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 7:02 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Jeffersontown woman accused of abusing her adopted child has been arraigned in Jefferson County.

Investigators say 28-year-old Rachel Hatfield Tipton struck her adopted 4-year-old son in the genitalia with a wooden spoon. After striking the child, police say she then force fed him causing a cut on the inside of his mouth.

Tipton was arrested in July on those accusations but entered a not guilty plea on Monday.

The little boy was adopted from Ethiopia.

Tipton is facing a criminal child abuse charge.

Baby Deseray Removed From Bixler's Custody in South Carolina

Date: 2013-10-28

By Suzette Brewer

Indian Country has learned that Merry Rejoice Bixler, aka "Baby Deseray," was removed last week from the home of Bobby Bixler, 64, and Diane Bixler, 60, of Irmo, South Carolina. Sources in that state have reported that the five-month-old Oklahoma infant was taken into state custody and is in temporary foster care pending an emergency hearing today in Richland County.

Adoptive mother pleads not guilty to criminal abuse

Date: 2013-10-28

Adoptive mother pleads not guilty to criminal abuse
Posted: Oct 28, 2013 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 28, 2013 5:49 PM EDT
By Sarah Eisenmenger - email

Rachel Tipton (Source: LMDC)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville mother pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal abuse concerning one of her four children on Monday.

According to Louisville Metro police, Rachel Tipton and her husband adopted a 4-year-old boy from Ethiopia.

The boy was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital for a scheduled procedure when the medical staff said they discovered injuries to various parts of the child's body including his head, mouth and genitals.

Tipton posted a $10,000 bond during her arraignment.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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