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Lawyer is suspended after child endangerment plea; judge saw no malice in adoptees' treatment

Date: 2015-02-03

By Debra Cassens Weiss

A Pennsylvania deputy attorney general has been suspended from law practice after his no contest plea to child endangerment.

Douglas Barbour, 35, was suspended on Friday, report the Sharon Harold, the Associated Press and TribeLive.com. Prosecutors had accused Barbour and his wife of mistreating two siblings they adopted from Ethiopia in 2012. The children were 6 years old and 18 months old when the Barbours were charged.

When Barbour entered the no-contest plea last June, Judge Jeffrey Manning of Pittsburgh said he saw no evidence of malice, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported at the time. “This started out as a significant act of charity gone awry,” Manning said. The couple retained custody of their two biological children.

The couple was charged after hospital officials reported that the girl had multiple fractures and the boy had lesions that could have been caused by contact with urine. Barbour’s wife, Kristen Barbour, told hospital officials that the girl has a history of banging her head. Prosecutors also said the boy was underweight.

Trial scheduled for man accused of abusing, and marrying, adopted daughter

Date: 2015-02-02

By John P Tretbar

A 43-year-old Alaska man accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter over many years and in many locations is being held in Buchanan County pending trial on charges of rape, sodomy, child molestation and incest.

The trial of Owen Melvin Miller was moved here from Andrew County on a change of venue.

Miller and his wife have seven adopted children, and several of them were allegedly sexually abused.

According to court documents, Mr Miller married one of the adopted children in a ceremony in Savannah, Missouri in August, 2002.

The children told investigators here and in Wasilla, Alaska about years of physical abuse and neglect. According to court documents, the children recounted several incidents of being locked ino the basement, the attic, or outside. They say they were forced to go two days or more without food if they got into trouble. The two victims said they would unhinge a padlocked bedroom door and then crawl through a hole in the wall to sneak food out of a deep freeze in the garage. The children said they warmed that food on a furnace.

Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

Date: 2015-01-22

By Heidi Fenton | hfenton@mlive.com

WYOMING, MI -- An 18-month-old girl found dead in her crib in March 2014 died of asphyxia from removing her trachea tube, according to a death certificate filed in Kent County.

The certificate classifies her death as accidental, even as police are charging the toddler's mother, Rebecca Cotes, with involuntary manslaughter.

Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker said the ruling Hannah Hoag suffered an accidental death does not preclude a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors, he said, are alleging gross negligence occurred with the death.

Hannah was found unresponsive in her crib the morning of March 24 and pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m.

In a probable cause affidavit, police allege Cotes, 26, placed Hannah in a crib without medical monitoring equipment — required because of the girl's special health needs. As she slept, Hannah removed her trachea tube, causing her own death, police say.

Mom charged in asphyxiation death of 1½ year old girl

Date: 2015-01-21

WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) - A 1 ½ year old girl is dead and now the baby's mother faces involuntary manslaughter charges for the girl's death in Wyoming nearly a year ago.

Rebecca Joy Cotes, 26, is charged with involuntary manslaughter for removing the child's breathing tube when putting the baby to bed on March 23rd last year.

Hannah Hoag, the woman's adopted daughter, was found dead in her crib the following morning at the family's home on Blandford Avenue SW near Chicago Drive.

The Kent County Medical Examiner's office ruled the asphyxiation death accidental, concluding the child removed the tracheal tube that provided her with oxygen.

But in a probable cause affidavit signed by Wyoming police, detectives say the mother was grossly negligent for not attaching the appropriate medical monitoring equipment. Cote removed the tracheal tube, causing the girl's death, court documents reveal.

The criminal complaint also alleges the child was not properly monitored, nor was the proper medical protocol used.

Woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in adopted daughter's neglect death

Date: 2015-01-21

By Angie Jackson

UPDATE: Toddler's death ruled 'accidental' even as mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter

WYOMING, MI -- A Wyoming woman is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the March death of her adopted 18-month-old child.

Rebecca Cotes, 26, is accused of neglecting her daughter's medical condition, which required a certain level of care, police said. Hannah Hoag was found dead in her crib on the morning of March 24.

The criminal allegation against Cotes comes after an investigation by Child Protective Services determined Hannah was the victim of medical neglect.

Cotes was Hannah's adoptive mother, Capt. Kim Koster said. She declined to specify the medical condition the child suffered from.

Cotes on Wednesday, Jan. 21, waived a probable cause hearing in Wyoming District Court. She is not currently jailed, records show.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

Trial date continued for Newport News couple charged in child's death

Date: 2015-01-20

By Ashley K. Speed

EWPORT NEWS — A new hearing date has been set for a Newport News couple charged in the death of their 7-year-old adopted daughter..

Terri Dennis, 32, and Pamela Dennis, 41, are charged in the April 2013 homicide of Terrilynn Destiny Dennis. Both are charged with murder and child abuse. Their trial date was set for Jan. 27 in Newport News Circuit Court, but has been continued, according to online court documents. A new hearing date has been set for Feb. 9, where a new trial date could be selected.

Officers responded about 1:40 a.m. April 4, 2013, to the 200 block of Gallery Court after receiving a call that a 7-year-old girl was not breathing, according to police. When police arrived, they found family members performing CPR on the girl, and they took over CPR until paramedics arrived. The girl was transported to a local hospital where she died a short time later, police said.

Paramedics were called more than eight hours after Pamela Dennis noticed the girl's tongue had turned purple and she was unresponsive, the criminal complaint states.

Defense seeks trial delay for Ohio Guardsman accused of sexually abusing adopted daughters

Date: 2015-01-19

MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A defense attorney is asking a court to postpone the trial of an Ohio National Guardsman accused of sexually abusing three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter and trying to keep other children in the family from discussing what they knew.

The 41-year-old Marysville man has pleaded not guilty on 35 counts alleging he abused the girls, abruptly sent a fourth adopted daughter out of state and threatened other children with a similar fate to keep them from talking. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 26.

In a motion requesting a delay, the defense said it needs more time to review medical records, contact between the victims and the prosecutor's office, and allegations of inappropriate sexual contact involving parties associated with the case. In regard to that unspecified sexual contact, the defense also sought court approval to pay for someone to review what was investigated and documented.

The office of the Guardsman's attorney has said he won't discuss the case.

Jury finds man guilty of sexually assaulting 2 girls

Date: 2015-01-16

By Nelson Daranciang

The man who opened and ran Heart Gallery Hawaii, the local chapter of a national organization that recruits parents for hard-to-adopt foster children, is guilty of sexually assaulting two girls.

A state jury deliberated less than three hours Friday before finding Louis A. Martinez guilty of three counts of felony sexual assault, one count of attempted felony sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault.

The girls reported that Martinez sexually assaulted them in 2011. One of the girls was 11 years old at the time. The other girl was 16.

Martinez, 38, faces sentencing in April.

Chinese police rescue 37 babies in trafficking bust

Date: 2015-01-14

By Naomi Ng

Police rescued 37 babies and a 3-year-old girl after busting a child trafficking ring in eastern China's Shandong province, reported the state-run China Central Television.

The newborn babies, many suffering from HIV/AIDS and malnutrition, were sold for between 50,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan ($8,000 to $12,912 dollars). The boys fetched higher prices than girls, according to the online video report published on Tuesday.

Babies were often transported in large handbags and suitcases to prospective buyers. And they were allegedly fed instant noodles and leftover vegetables, according to Chinese state media.

Authorities have arrested 103 people, suspected of trafficking or purchasing the infants.

Watch this video

Doctor admits stealing, selling babies 01:11

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Police spotted a suspicious group of pregnant women being ushered into an abandoned factory in the city of Jining, last July, where they found baby diapers and other evidence of it being used as an "underground delivery room."

One girl's controversial adoption, and what it says about Guatemala's broken international adoption system

Date: 2015-01-08

Editor William Troop

Adopting a child from Guatemala used to be really popular among Americans. In 2006 alone, more than 4,000 Guatemalan kids were adopted by families here in the US.

In each case, prospective parents paid tens of thousands of dollars in fees. All that money fuelled a lucrative adoption industry in Guatemala, and an underground trade in abducted children.

It got so bad that Guatemala halted all new international adoptions in 2007. The country's been trying to reform its broken system ever since. But there are still a lot of questions about what went on in the past, and about one case in particular.

It involves a girl named Karen Abigail, who was adopted years ago from Guatemala by an American couple from Missouri.

“Karen’s case is actually a high-profile criminal investigation in Guatemala,” says investigative journalist Erin Siegal McIntyre. She’s spent several years looking into Karen’s adoption and Guatemala's broken adoption system in general.

Her lengthy article detailing Karen’s case was published online by Guernica magazine.

American to face trial in Guatemala adoption case

Date: 2015-01-08

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- A Guatemalan court has ordered an American woman to stand trial on charges of participating in illegal adoptions.

The prosecutors' office for human trafficking says the court found sufficient evidence to try Nancy Susan Bailey, who is being treated for high blood pressure at a Guatemalan hospital.

Bailey was apprehended in El Salvador and turned over to Guatemalan authorities at the border between the two Central American countries Dec. 17.

The arrest warrant for Bailey was issued in 2008 and charged her with taking children and putting them up for illegal adoption for fees as high as $40,000.

Bailey founded the orphanage Seeds of Love outside Guatemala's capital in 1996.

Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity said in a 2010 report that it found 3,342 irregular adoptions, mostly to U.S. couples.

Judge sends man to prison for 30 years for molestation of 5-year-old adopted daughter

Date: 2015-01-07

By Theresa Ghiloni

JACKSON, MI -- Before sentencing a man who admitted to molesting his 5-year-old adopted daughter to 30 to 50 years in prison for one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Circuit Judge John G. McBain said he couldn't "wrap his head" around the crime.

"I just can't wrap my head around a 46-year-old man who's gonna turn his daughter into a sex toy," McBain said. "I'm sure what you have done has emotionally scarred her and the rest of your family for the rest of their lives."

Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kati Rezmierski told McBain during the Jan. 7 sentencing that the man violated what should have been "a sacred bond" with his daughter. She said his actions will eventually cause the now 7-year-old she described as "amazing" and "fierce" to internalize the "shame and degradation" he caused.

The man's name has been withheld because he shares a name with his daughter and the Citizen Patriot typically does not print names of sexual assault victims.

Janet Barreto, once most-wanted fugitive, dies in custody

Date: 2014-12-24

By Therese Apel, The Clarion-Ledger

A woman once on the U.S. Marshals' Most Wanted Fugitives list in connection with the death of her adopted child has died in custody, officials said.

Janet Barreto, 43, died of natural causes shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday at Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, according to a news release from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

MDOC officials said they do not have further information on Barreto's health conditions while in custody.

Barreto and her husband, Ramon, spent five years running from authorities after failing to appear for trial in 2009 in the death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna.

In 2008, authorities raided the Barretos' home in Union County on a tip that Enna had been abused. She was taken from a local hospital to Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, where she died. Doctors there suspected child neglect and tipped off local authorities, who got a warrant and raided the property.

Dixon child abuse case moving forward as 10 children get therapy for 'abuse/neglect'

Date: 2014-12-19

By GABRIEL MONTE

The case of a Lubbock woman accused of abusing her adopted daughter is set to go to trial in February, according to court records.

And the 10 children she and her husband were responsible for raising remain in foster care and are receiving therapy to “move past the abuse/neglect they’ve experienced,” a children’s advocate said.

Wonda Dixon, 59, is accused of withholding food, water and medical care from her 12-year-old adopted daughter.

A Lubbock County grand jury indicted Dixon on Oct. 1, 2013, on a charge of injuring a child knowingly or intentionally, resulting in severe bodily injury.

Her husband, 63-year-old Dave Dixon, faces the same charge.

They were arrested the next day and were booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center where they remain incarcerated.

The couple have denied any wrongdoing.

Their bond is set at $150,000 each, according to jail records.

They are being represented by different attorneys and their request for a bond reduction last year was denied, according to court records.

American arrested on illegal adoption, human trafficking charges in Guatemala

Date: 2014-12-18

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Guatemalan authorities have arrested an American accused of human trafficking and participating in illegal adoptions.

Prosecutors say Nancy Susan Bailey was apprehended in El Salvador and turned over to Guatemalan authorities via Interpol at the border between the two Central American countries.

The arrest warrant for Bailey was issued in 2008 and charged her with taking children and putting them up for illegal adoption for fees as high as $40,000, according to a statement released by prosecutors. She was arrested Tuesday.

Bailey founded the orphanage "Seeds of Love" outside the Guatemalan capital in 1996.

Guatemala's International Commission Against Impunity issued a report in 2010 saying it found 3,342 irregular adoptions, mostly to U.S. couples.

The commission described networks of child-trafficking in the country for the purpose of illegal adoptions.

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