Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities
Author: James Walsh; Staff Writer
Dateline: Racine, Minn.
On Saturday, Lois Cooke called the Mower County Sheriff's Department after her daughters, Holly and Nicole, told her that their adoptive father had sexually abused them.
By Sunday morning, Lois, 48, Holly, 15, and Nicole, 14, were dead - shot by James Cooke, 63, who then turned the gun on himself minutes before deputies arrived at the family's home. Mower County Sheriff Wayne Goodnature said deputies could smell gunpowder in the air when they found James Cooke dying from four self-inflicted gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester on Sunday night.
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Author: BYLINE: Lisa Grace Lednicer, Staff Writer
Dateline: RACINE, Minn.
Surrounded by 250 sobbing classmates, the Stewartville High School girls' volleyball team struggled Monday night to sing a song in memory of the girl who once had cheered them to victory.
They broke down as the song ended, stumbling to their seats in the church where students and teachers from Stewartville High had gathered to make sense of the deaths of cheerleader Nicole Cooke, 14, and her 15-year-old sister, Holly.
The girls and their mother, Lois, 48, were shot by their father, 63-year-old James Cooke late Saturday or early Sunday, authorities said. After writing a rambling suicide note, Cooke shot himself four times and died as he was being taken to the hospital.
Cooke apparently learned that his daughters told their mother he had sexually abused them. Lois Cooke contacted a Mower County sheriff's investigator Saturday and said she had been told during an argument with the girls that they had been abused by their father.
Author: The Associated Press
An outpouring of support has given Dan and Kathy Blackburn some peace again in their home of 28 adopted Haitian children.
Two of the teenage boys got jobs, and many people have offered financial help and counseling for the couple and their family.
Mrs. Blackburn said she already sees a change in her children.
"We have had several 'jam sessions' with other teens who have been in trouble," she said. "They have come into our home and talked to all the kids about staying out of trouble and what will happen if you don't."
The Blackburns, former missionaries, adopted the 17 boys and 11 girls after the children's parents died from disease and famine in Haiti. They brought them back to the United States five years ago.
Problems began to arise as the children grew older. Twenty-three are now teenagers.
Neighbors complained that the children harass people trying to drive down the road near the family's rural home.
Dennis and Diane Nason adopted scores of abused, disabled and unwanted children from around the world, filling a 33-bedroom farmhouse. Mother Teresa was among their admirers. But most of the children are gone now. The farmhouse was sold to pay lawyers. Jury selection began yesterday in the Nasons' trial on more than two dozen charges. Among other things, they are accused of letting three small children die neglected in their beds, one from starvation and two from a form of...
Author: Patti Weaver; World Correspondent
STILLWATER - After deliberating nine hours Tuesday, a Payne County jury convicted a Cushing woman of scalding her 4-year-old foster child. The jury fixed Anita June Franklin's penalty at one year in the county jail.
Associate District Judge Bob Murphy Jr. set a sentencing hearing for Oct. 28. Franklin is free on $5,000 bond until then.
Child abuse carries a punishment of up to life in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The jury began deliberating at 10:35 a.m. Tuesday. After about four hours, jurors sent out a note asking the definition of "beyond a reasonable doubt" and "willful." Murphy said, "I just told them they had all the instructions required by law."
During the four-day trial, Franklin, 43, was described by character witnesses as "good with kids" and "an understanding, very patient mother."
Franklin, a widow who formerly worked at First Methodist Church in Cushing as a custodian and relief day-care worker, testified she had five foster children through the Department of Human Services starting in 1992.
Author: Patti Weaver; World Correspondent
STILLWATER - A child abuse expert told a Payne County jury Monday that it is impossible a 4-year-old boy caused the severe scalding burns he suffered on his legs and feet at his foster home in Cushing.
"This is a classic case of child abuse - the child was held with his feet immersed in hot water," Dr. John Steumky, who wrote the curriculum on child abuse for the University of Oklahoma Medical School, testified Monday.
Justin Fields, now 5, whose skin was completely burned off his feet and lower legs, told the jury Monday, "Nita did it." Justin also testified his foster mother "threw me around, made me hit concrete."
Anita June Franklin, 43, of Cushing, who was Justin's foster mother for four months, testified Monday she had never injured the boy "in any way."
She said Justin "had a bout with the flu and developed diarrhea. . . . He had an accident down his legs all over his clothes.
Author: The Associated Press
A pair of former missionaries trying to raise 28 Haitian children say the youngsters - 23 of whom are teenagers - are becoming difficult to handle.
"I am so afraid that by admitting I need some help I will lose my children," said Kathy Blackburn, who adopted the youngsters with her husband, Dan, and brought them back to the United States five years ago.
"I just don't know what else to do."
Two of the family's 17 boys have been arrested, one for stealing a television from a neighbor and one for criminal mischief and intimidation after pointing a BB pistol at another teenager, The Shelbyville News reported.
Shelby County Sheriff Mike Herndon said his department had received complaints and that officers were working with the family.
"If you consider the ratio, having two or three
'bad' teens out of 28 children is really not bad," the sheriff said. "But I am afraid people will think all of the children are bad because the ones with problems are not being addressed."
Author: Patti Weaver; World Correspondent
STILLWATER - A Cushing nurse testified Friday she could not forget the screams of a 4-year-old boy whose foster mother is accused of scalding his feet and lower legs with hot water.
"He was crying `Please, please, take me out of the water,' " when he was brought into Cushing Regional Hospital emergency room at 11:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 1993, Dorothy Flaherty testified.
Flaherty, who said she has been a licensed nurse for 19 years, said "the burns on his feet - I couldn't forget them - the skin was peeling off."
Her testimony came in the second day of the trial of Anita June Franklin, 43, of Cushing, who for four months was the foster mother of Justin Fields. If convicted of abusing him, Franklin could receive life in prison.
The Department of Human Services placed Justin in foster care because his mother was in prison and his father could not take care of him, prosecutor Beth Pauchnik said.
A convicted child molester was ordered yesterday to stand trial in the sexual assault of Alicia Wade, whose father was charged with the crime before a genetic test cleared him.
Albert Carder Jr., who is in prison for molesting four girls in the same Navy housing complex where the Wades lived, was ordered by Municipal Judge Judith Hayes to stand trial on two counts of forcible child abuse and a third count of kidnapping in the May 8, 1989, attack on Alicia. The trial is to begin Sept. 28.
Carder, 28, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison for each of the child-abuse counts, which could be added to a 25-year sentence he is already serving, said prosecutor Robert Eichler.
Carder's appointed attorney, Barton Sheela, said the case had already received enormous publicity and declined comment.
At the time of the assaults, Carder, an admitted methamphetamine abuser, was on probation as a registered sex offender for molesting two girls in San Luis Obispo.
Author: CAROL J. WILLIAMSLOS ANGELES TIMES
Dateline: BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
THE PROSECUTION OF a British couple in a smuggling case is expected to have a chilling effect on the illegal adoptions again plaguing Romania after a 1991 crackdown on the black-market baby trade.
BUCHAREST, Romania - A British couple accused of trying to smuggle a Romanian baby out of this country after paying $6,000 to shady brokers to obtain her insisted on the first day of their trial yesterday they didn't realize they were violating any law.
Bernadette and Adrian Mooney of Wokingham, England, are the first foreigners from among tens of thousands who have sought to adopt Romanian children to be charged with criminal conduct and threatened with jail time.
No verdict is expected in the case for at least two weeks as a lawyer for one of five Romanians being tried simultaneously with the Mooneys won an adjournment to call another witness.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Author: ALISON MUTLER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dateline: COSMESTI, ROMANIA
Five months ago, Gerghina and Alexandru Florea gave their 8-year-old son a gift they could not afford for their other nine children -- a hopeful future.
The Floreas consented to Vasile's adoption by a couple from Lincoln, Neb., to save him from life in a state institution where he had lived since birth
because the family couldn't afford to bring him home. Another Florea son, 2- year-old Marian, remains institutionalized for the same reason.
"I'm not happy about it," Mrs. Florea, 35, said as she nursed a 2-month- old son. "But what could we do?"
Romania's late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, overthrown and executed in the 1989 revolution, tried to increase the population of 23 million by banning birth control and abortion.
His legacy, even though birth control and abortion have since been legalized, is limited sex education and crushing poverty that pushes some parents to give up their children for adoption -- legally in hopes of a better future, or illegally for money.
When Darlene Bright came into the FHP Hospital, she laid her 3-year-old son on the Formica desktop, stepped back and told the admitting clerk the boy was unresponsive.
"She thought he had fallen out of his bunk bed," Susan Nakamura testified Friday."She was saying he's always falling down and hurting himself, that they were going to blame her for this."
A judge said Friday he had heard enough evidence to believe Bright was to blame for her son's death and ordered her to stand trial for murder.
An assistant medical examiner said the injuries that eventually killed Kameron Bright could not have been caused from any fall off of a bunk bed.
"Falls less than 10 feet produce fairly benign injuries," said Dr. Edward Leis. He said the boy would have had to fall several stories to receive such injuries or possibly was shaken followed by a severe blow to the head.
September 1994 | Volume 52 | Number 1
The New Alternative Schools Pages 20-22
The Global Youth Academy
Alfred Alschuler and Stephen Myers
The students at an international traveling school bring back home to family, school, and community the lessons of global citizenship.
In Zimbabwe, 32 American teenagers on a worldwide learning and service tour cleaned the Harare bus depot. The crowd laughed at the foreigners, but then, one by one, they joined the students and stayed for talks about cultural differences in the nature of service. It was a naive, idealistic, and surprising experiment— the precise conditions for authentic learning about global citizenship.
The idea for global learning began with simple impulses: “What if we put a school on wheels,” and “Let's try it.” In 1972, summer bicycle tours began. In 1982, Steve Myers said, “Let's travel on a bus and make it part of a public school curriculum.”
A Brick Township woman pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated manslaughter in the beating death of her 3-year-old adopted son.
Kathleen Kelly Golebieski, 38, told Superior Court Judge James N. Citta in Toms River that she could not remember inflicting the fatal injuries to Kyle Golebieski, but could not deny the state's evidence that she was responsible for his death from blows to the head.
When public defender Robert Tarver showed Golebieski photographs taken prior to the boy's autopsy, she admitted causing the bruises, in various stages of healing, on the boy's legs, back, arms, hands and face. After Golebieski called police to her home 2:42 p.m. July 30, 1993, an ambulance was called that transported the unconscious boy to the trauma unit at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. Kyle died the next morning without gaining consciousness.
Golebieski, who wore sunglasses and cried through most of the proceeding, pleaded guilty to an amended indictment in which a charge of murder was downgraded to aggravated manslaughter that included a count of endangering the welfare of a child.
A visiting judge is refusing to stop Kathleen and Timothy Carroll from allowing news media crews to photograph their adopted, handicapped youngsters.
In a decision filed Friday in Greene County Juvenile Court, Richard T. Cole said, "It was not established that any such activity has been detrimental to the children (so far)." Nor has it violated a policy of the Children Services Board, which prohibits children in foster care from participating in "publicity activities" without written consent of the parent or guardian, Cole said. Two of the Carrolls' five surviving adopted children - Samuel, 6, and Isaiah, 11 - have been in foster care for nearly a year, after Cole said the parents were unable to properly care for their special needs.