Date: 1993-08-24



August 24, 1993
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News
Lawyers representing the Carroll family, which has seen five adoptive children die in nine months, say the court-ordered removal of two youngsters last week was illegal and put the children in conditions that are undesirable if not unsafe.

Greene County officials strongly dispute those allegations and characterize them as attempts to deflect scrutiny from the Carrolls. "I don't think there's a true factual basis for what's being said. . . . They're looking for areas to criticize because they don't like the judge's decision," said Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt, who represents the county Children Services Board.

Visiting Judge Richard T. Cole last Tuesday granted temporary emergency custody to the agency and ordered that Samuel, 5, and Isaiah, 11, be removed from the Carrolls' Cedarville home, where 10-year-old Hosea and 17-year-old James remain.

John H. Rion and Dennis E. Gump, who represent adoptive parents Kathleen and Timothy Carroll, on Monday asked the Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals to issue a writ of habeas corpus requiring Greene County Children Services to bring the removed children to a custody hearing in that court.

Designed to test the legality of any kind of detention, the writ is one of five types of lawsuits that can be initiated only in a court of appeals or the Ohio Supreme Court.

The lawyers' petition asks for immediate action and a hearing to further debate issues surrounding the children's custody.

"The transfer of custody to the Children Services Board was illegal because the trial court did not properly consider the best interests of the children," the petition states. "These children need special care and treatment that cannot be adequately provided in the foster home in which they now reside."

Appeals Court Administrator Mike Buenger said a panel of three of the court's five judges would be ready to consider the petition by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, court-appointed child advocate Stephen Bogenschutz, a Cedarville attorney, has asked Cole for an emergency hearing in the case.

Bogenschutz said James Carroll, who is under house arrest because he is awaiting a hearing on charges of delinquency by reason of involuntary manslaughter in connection with one of the four child deaths authorities believe are suspicious, should be permitted to visit Samuel and Isaiah.

That, Schmidt said, "is totally inappropriate," given the case against James.

Bogenschutz also raised concerns about the foster care being provided for Samuel, who has Down syndrome, and Isaiah, who is brain-damaged and partially paralyzed.

Last week, just two to three days after the children were placed in foster homes, Bogenschutz "received information" that the children appeared to have been unwashed and were infested with head lice and fleas.

In addition, Isaiah was seated in a wheelchair that appeared to be too small and lacked a proper car seat; Samuel was wearing shoes that also appeared to be too small, the motion states.

Schmidt said Samuel did have head lice - but, because it takes three to 14 days for lice eggs to hatch, it's possible he was infested prior to his placement in foster care.

Further, Schmidt said Bogenschutz apparently based his comments solely on information provided by Mrs. Carroll - and made no attempt to contact her office

Mary Ann Paloncy, executive director of Children Services, said Bogenschutz only made one attempt to contact a caseworker about the children's placements, and the message he left gave no indication it was urgent.


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