Case news

Most recent articles added to the case archives



Foster carer to be sentenced over underage sex assault

Date: 2014-05-01

Foster carer to be sentenced over underage sex assault
KAREN MATTHEWS GEELONG ADVERTISER MAY 01, 2014 8:45AM 3

A GEELONG foster carer has fronted court charged with the repeated sexual assault of one of 70 vulnerable children placed in his care over a number of years.

The foster carer, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates’ Court yesterday to 15 counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.

The offender was supported in court by his church minister, who spoke in glowing terms of how the man had helped organise mentoring programs for high school students and arranged youth camps for the church.

The police prosecutor, Sergeant Brooke Shears, said the victim was aged 12 when her foster father began cuddling up to her when he put her to bed.

Sgt Shears said the offending started with giving the child “kisses all over” and then became more exploitative.

Sgt Shears said that for years the offender repeatedly fondled the child, touched her intimately and committed indecent acts on her.

Salinas: Torture charge added in child starvation case

Date: 2014-04-26

By Julia Reynolds

SALINAS - For the second time, new charges have been added to the prosecution of two Monterey County women accused of chaining an 8-year-old girl to a wall and denying her food.

A torture charge, which carries a possible seven-years-to-life sentence, was filed Wednesday against Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44.

The pair already faced a felony child abuse count after their arrest on March 14. Two misdemeanor child endangerment counts concerning two boys were later added, as well as a felony false imprisonment charge in connection with the girl.

Craig and Deanda faced up to six years and eight months on those charges, prosecutor Sarah Ma said.

Ma said an amended complaint filed this week added the felony torture count as well as an enhancement of causing great bodily injury to the felony child abuse charge, which could add an additional three years in prison.

Mom of 8 pleads not guilty in medical child abuse

Date: 2014-04-04

ORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 44-year-old mother at the center of an investigation into medical child abuse entered a not guilty plea Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Kate G. Parker was arraigned on a 43-count secret indictment that was filed April 1, 2014. KOIN 6 News first reported Parker’s arrest Tuesday at her residence in Grants Pass, Ore. She was transported from Josephine County to the Multnomah County Detention Center Thursday.

The indictment charges Parker with 24 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, four counts of first-degree assault, one count of child abandonment, four counts of computer crime, four counts of identity theft, five counts of witness tampering and one count of recklessly endangering another.

Court documents reveal one of Parker’s biological sons and two adopted girls were injured as a result of what officials called unnecessary surgeries. Investigators said Parker knowingly and intentionally caused “serious physical injury” to the children by making false and or misleading statements to medical professionals so they would administer medical treatment.

Friend of Parker: Reporting her to police ‘tough’

Date: 2014-04-03

By Chris Woodard

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (KOIN) — The woman who reported the mother accused of medical child abuse to police said she was her friend and found the whole situation “extremely tough.”

Tiffany Reed said she met Kate Parker, who is now in jail on charges of medical child abuse, several years ago in an online support group after Parker reached out to her, saying her child had the same medical condition as Reed’s son.

Reed told KOIN 6 News her son has chiari, a brain malformation.

Reed said her family donated all the money they had saved for summer vacation to Parker one year, but in 2012, when Parker said her child was dying, Reed and her family went down to visit.

Reed said the behaviors between Parker and her child did not add up when she visited, so she reported Parker to authorities and shared the details of that visit when she appeared before the grand jury.

Criminal psychologist: Mother of 8 may suffer from MBPS

Date: 2014-04-02

By Joel Iwanaga

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local criminal psychologist said the Grants Pass mother of 8 accused of medical abuse may have been suffering from Munchausen by proxy syndrome (MBPS).

Investigators said Kate Parker, 44, will soon face charges at the downtown Justice Center after she lied to doctors, making them believe one of her children needed unnecessary medical treatment.

Doctor Frank Colistro, a criminal psychologist who in not involved with Parker’s case, said he believes the mother may have been suffering from MBPS, which is a form of child abuse in which a parent induces real or apparent symptoms of a disease in a child.

“A person reporting symptoms that don’t exist: feigning symptoms in another person (or) reporting illness of a child,” said Colistro.

Mike Trent, who is a former prosecutor in Texas, and who has prosecuted two medical child abuses cases spoke to KOIN 6 News by phone Wednesday and said anyone who commits medical child abuse for monetary gain is not suffering from a mental health issue.

Mother of 8 arrested in ‘medical child abuse’ case

Date: 2014-04-01

By Brent Weisberg

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Josephine County mother is in jail, accused of being the mastermind behind an elaborate scheme to medically abuse her children, KOIN 6 News has confirmed.

Katherine G. Parker, 44, of Grants Pass, Ore., who is known as “Kate,” was booked into the Josephine County Jail late Tuesday afternoon.

She was arrested by two officers with the Grants Park Department of Public Safety at her residence on Southeast Marjean Lane, Sgt. Edward Burke said. Officers went out to her address after learning about the warrant from officials in Multnomah County, police said. The officers knocked on the door and Parker was taken into custody without any use of force, Burke said. The arrest warrant stemmed from a 43 count indictment issued by a Multnomah County grand jury. The jurors voted Monday, a law enforcement source told KOIN 6 News.

Lawmaker Wants To Stop Abuse, Neglect To “Re-Homed” Adopted Children

Date: 2014-03-26

Lawmaker Wants To Stop Abuse, Neglect To “Re-Homed” Adopted Children

By Danielle Elias
Tuesday March 25, 2014 4:46 PM
UPDATED: Wednesday March 26, 2014 11:03 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio - An adopted child says she was abused. In turn, court documents show she was shipped away to keep her quiet.

This is a practice called re-homing, where children are sent from home to home and state to state. One of the families being investigated for adopting, then abusing, is in Central Ohio.

Now, a state lawmaker got wind of this alleged practice, and wants to make sure it never happens again in Ohio.

These are children who are typically unwanted, neglected and abandoned. They fall under the radar because of how they're monitored across the country, including Ohio.

18-year-old Nita Durand shares a distant memory of her parents, who she hasn’t seen in so long.

Durand was adopted from her homeland of Haiti five years ago. She says her biological parents wanted to find her a better life.

Adopted, Abused Teen Wants Trading of Adopted Children Banned

Date: 2014-03-24

Adopted, Abused Teen Wants Trading of Adopted Children Banned

By Danielle Elias
Monday March 24, 2014 11:42 PM
UPDATED: Monday March 24, 2014 11:04 AM

MARYSVILLE, Ohio - A teenager, adopted from another country, is speaking out about the practice of re-homing as lawmakers discuss banning the process in Ohio.

Re-homing allows adopted children to be sent from home to home, without anyone ever knowing.

Nita Durand says she lost her teenage years, after she was shuffled from state to state, and family to family, suffering abuse along the way.

Durand says there were times when she was abruptly moved, without any clothes other than what was on her back.

To meet Durand now, you would find a fun-loving, energetic, teenage girl, but she says life wasn't always this good.

Durand was born 18 years ago in Haiti. She says her mother struggled with money, and fought to find her and her younger sister a better life.

"She said it would be better for all of us," said Durand, who spent several years in a Haitian orphanage until she found another home.

Girl spent months harboring secret, fearing she would be sent away again

Date: 2014-03-21

Girl spent months harboring secret, fearing she would be sent away again
By Megan Twohey
Filed March 21, 2014

Authorities say an Ohio mother used ‘re-homing’ to keep allegations of sexual abuse from coming to light

MARYSVILLE, Ohio - On an Internet forum where parents sought takers for adopted children they no longer wanted, a teenager from Haiti was offered more frequently than any other girl.

Starting at age 14, Nita Dittenber was passed among four families over two years through a practice called “private re-homing.”

In September, Reuters exposed an underground market in which desperate parents use online bulletin boards to offer adoptees to strangers, often illegally and with no government oversight. The Internet forums, including the Yahoo group where Nita was advertised, can enable abusers to acquire children easily; in one case, a pedophile in Illinois took home a 10-year-old boy hours after an ad for the child was posted online.

Women who were arrested in child abuse case were scheduled to be married

Date: 2014-03-21

Salinas: One of two women arrested is former correctional officer

By JULIA REYNOLDS

One of two women accused of starving, chaining and abusing three children in Monterey County is a former correctional officer, while the other was a businesswoman and counselor at clinics in California and New Mexico, according to their online professional profiles and court filings.

Sheriff's deputies rescued three children from the couple's residence on Russell Road north of Salinas on March 14, citing horrific conditions and an "emaciated" 8-year-old girl who looked like "a concentration camp" victim, said Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller.

Also taken from the home were two boys, ages 3 and 5.

Miller said Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, are accused of felony child cruelty, false imprisonment and other charges.

Deputies conducted a welfare check at the house after the children didn't show up for an unspecified appointment, detectives said.

They found the children, who were home-schooled, living in squalid conditions and "fairly dire straits," Miller said.

Re-homing victim: ‘I could have been dead’

Date: 2014-03-21

Re-homing victim: ‘I could have been dead’

Since she was adopted and brought to America at age 13, Nita Dittenber was passed from family to family through an underground market for adopted kids. The practice, called "private re-homing," was uncovered last year by a Reuters Investigation

It was the first of several times Michelle offered Nita on the Yahoo group. In her posts, Michelle portrayed Nita as a “bully” with an “attitude of entitlement.” The girl “lies” and is “manipulative,” she wrote, but “does love little kids very much” and has “a soft spot for elderly people as well.”

Each time they transferred custody of Nita, the Dittenbers used a notarized power of attorney document stating that Nita was now in the care of the new family, Tony says. No social workers or attorneys were involved, he says, and there was no official vetting of the parents taking in Nita.

Two Salinas women arrested in severe child neglect case

Date: 2014-03-21

SALINAS, Calif. —One of the worst cases he's encountered in more than 30 years of law enforcement. That's how Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller described a case of child abuse and neglect in Salinas on Friday.

An 8-year-old-girl and two boys, ages 5 and 3, were removed from a house on Russell Road by deputies. Miller said the house's conditions were deplorable and the children were so malnourished, "They looked like they had come out of a concentration camp."

"One of them had been chained to the floor to keep her from obtaining food," Deputy E. Schumacher said.

Miller said the girl may have been shackled at the neck and feet.

Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, were arrested on child abuse charges March 15.

Miller said the two women are domestic partners. One of the two arrested women was the 3-year-old boy's biological mother. The girl and 8-year-old boy were adopted.

The girl was hospitalized for a week. All three kids exhibited signs of physical and emotional abuse, and officials put them in foster care.

Children found starving, chained and abused in Monterey County home

Date: 2014-03-21

By Julia Reynolds

SALINAS -- Three children were rescued from a Monterey County home last week after deputies discovered that two women -- one a former correctional officer -- had starved, chained and abused the children, officials said Friday.

Sheriff's deputies rescued the children from the couples' residence on Russell Road near Salinas on March 14, citing horrific conditions and an 8-year-old girl who looked "like a concentration camp victim," said Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller.

Also in the home were two boys, ages 3 and 5.

Miller said Eraca Dawn Craig, 31, and Christian Jessica Deanda, 44, are accused of felony child cruelty, false imprisonment and other charges.

Deputies conducted a welfare check at the house after the children didn't show up for an unspecified appointment, detectives said.

They found the children, who were home-schooled, living in squalid conditions and "fairly dire straits," Miller said.

The girl appeared to have been the most abused, deputies said, though all three had bruises and other marks and appeared to be malnourished.

Why One Mother Gave Back Her Adopted Son

Date: 2014-03-20

Why One Mother Gave Back Her Adopted Son
By Good Housekeeping | Parenting – Thu, Mar 20, 2014 12:38 PM EDT

A difficult decision was the right choice for Stacey Conner's family.

Stacey Conner, a 41-year-old mom and former attorney from Spokane, Wash., dreamed of having a large family with biological and adopted kids. "The world is a big place with a lot of children in it; we wanted to bring some of those into our family, to give our love to kids without it," she says. After she volunteered in an orphanage in poverty-torn Haiti in 2005, Conner and her husband, Matt, a pharmacist, decided to adopt two children. But the process was so slow that by October 2006, when they brought home their (unrelated) 5-year-old Haitian son and 1-year-old Haitian daughter, Conner had given birth to a son, who was 1. "Having an instant multicultural family was magical," Conner says, "for about two weeks."

Supreme Court rejects ex-York County man's appeal in adopted Russian son's death

Date: 2014-03-13

Supreme Court rejects ex-York County man's appeal in adopted Russian son's death
By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com
on March 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM

The state Supreme Court has refused to hear a former York County man's appeal of his involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and child endangerment convictions in the death of his adopted Russian son.

The state's highest court issued that decision Wednesday, effectively ending 49-year-old Michael J. Craver's legal effort to clear his name in the August 2009 death of his 7-year-old son Nathaniel.

Craver's wife, Nanette, 58, was convicted on identical charges by a York County jury during the couple's trial in 2011. The jury acquitted the former Carroll Township couple of murder charges.

Both Cravers, who now live in Carbon County, were sentenced to 16 months to 4 years in prison, plus 5 years of probation. A county judge ordered their release from prison when he sentenced them in November 2011 because they had already spent 19 months behind bars.

Pound Pup Legacy