CARROLLS SEEK CUSTODY

Date: 1993-11-23
Source: newsbank.com

CARROLLS SEEK CUSTODY

2 HANDICAPPED SONS STILL IN FOSTER CARE

November 23, 1993
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News
       
All sides are ready for what could be the most arduous battle yet for the custody of Carroll family children.

Six lawyers - four of them representing members of the Carroll family - began presenting their cases in a hearing Monday in Greene County Juvenile Court. The purpose of the hearing, expected to resume today before Visiting Judge Richard T. Cole, is to determine whether two children with physical and mental handicaps will remain in foster care or be returned to the Cedarville home where four of their adopted siblings died suspiciously within a year. The two children, Isaiah, an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, and Samuel, a 5-year-old with Down syndrome, were put in foster care Aug. 17, in the aftermath of a coroner's inquest into the deaths.

The hearing also concerns the well-being of the youngsters remaining in the Carroll home, James, 17, and Hosea, 10. Neither has a physical disability, but a psychiatrist testified Monday that both need "intensive psychotherapy." James was found not delinquent in juvenile court in October after being accused in the death of Hannah, 6.

John H. Rion, who represents the children's adoptive mother, Kathleen Carroll, says psychotherapy for the boys isn't necessary. "They've reconciled their losses in the church," Rion said.

Members of Ascension Life Center in West Alexandria, the Carrolls have publicly stated that God told them their mission is to care for disabled children, and their minister, Wesley Brubaker, has stood by their side throughout the deaths and the civil and criminal court hearings that followed.

Rion said Mrs. Carroll and her husband, Timothy, are "faultless and blameless." Even though they pleaded guilty to criminal charges of neglect for failing to seek medical treatment for Hannah, who died after nearly a third of her body was badly burned with bleach, Rion said that plea resulted only because it brought the promise of returning the children to their home. "They would've pleaded guilty to anything to get their children back," Rion said.

Bringing Samuel and Isaiah back into the home now would be a mistake, said Dr. Glenn M. Weaver, a Cincinnati psychiatrist who examined James and Hosea and their parents.

Tests showed that James and Hosea "are not psychotic . . . but they both have significant problems," Weaver said.

James has the potential to "just explode," Weaver said, because he's still dealing with the aftereffects of his early childhood. As a youngster in a tough Boston suburb, he was beaten by his mother's boyfriend and freely roamed the streets, repeatedly getting into fights.

His delinquent behavior is under control now, but his defense mechanisms are "very brittle," adding that James acts inappropriately for his age.

"He's afraid to get into a bit of mischief for fear he'd lose complete control," Weaver said.

Hosea spontaneously drew a series of pictures that caused Weaver concern because the pictures each depict "no mother figure, no father figure . . . just this one little kid all alone," Weaver observed.

The hearing is expected to continue today with more testimony presented by Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck and Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt on behalf of the children services board.

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