CARROLLS SEEK TO INTERVIEW ACCUSING CHILD

Date: 1994-06-15
Source: newsbank.com

CARROLLS SEEK TO INTERVIEW ACCUSING CHILD

June 15, 1994
Janice Haidet
Dayton Daily News
       
A day after prosecutors filed documents claiming that 11-year-old Isaiah Carroll watched his older brother kill another sibling, defense lawyers have asked for a private interview with the child.

They're also asking that the Greene County Children Services Board be removed from the case. "The only thing I'm allowed to say is, we're extremely shocked and we can't believe what's going on," said the boys' father, Timothy Carroll.

He and his wife, Kathleen, along with adopted sons James, 18, and Hosea, 10, had been scheduled to visit with Samuel, 6, and Isaiah, on Tuesday.

The visits have been happening regularly since the two boys were placed in foster care in August. The removals happened after four suspicious deaths among the Carrolls' 10 adopted children.

However, Tuesday's visit and future visits are suspended awaiting action of Visiting Judge Richard Cole.

Several witnesses have filed sworn statements that Isaiah, who is severely handicapped and cannot speak, communicated that he saw James smother Josiah, 12, on June 14, 1993; that James sexually abused Isaiah; and that Isaiah was afraid of James. He gave answers to yes and no questions, they said in court documents.

Cole is being asked to protect Isaiah as a material witness in the case and keep him separate from the family. Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck feels the child may be in danger or could be "intimidated" into changing his statements.

"On the one hand, this child is attempting to communicate a horrible experience he observed. On the other hand, he cannot help but fear the possibility of being returned to the Carroll residence and the presence of James Carroll," Schenck said. "This is a pitiful situation that mandates this court to act in the protective interests of the child."

On Schenck's advice, the agency discontinued the visits pending Cole's action.

"This demonstrates an attitude that this government agency considers itself above the law and does anything it wants to," says a document filed Tuesday by the Carrolls' lawyers, John Rion and Dennis Gump. "This flaunting of its position is not uncharacteristic for this agency, particularly in this case."

Gump and Rion also assert that the Carrolls "are the best persons to interpret" the non-verbal communications of Isaiah.

In the documents filed by Gump and Rion, the Carrolls also are asking for the right to have a hearing and present evidence that Isaiah's type of communication is "unreliable."

However, Schenck points out that the Carrolls have previously presented statements from least a half-dozen people attesting to Isaiah's ability to communicate despite the fact that he can't talk. Isaiah suffered a brain injury that prevents him from speaking and also impairs his movements. However, the Carrolls have previously said that Isaiah is able to understand what goes on around him and communicates through a yes and no signal system, along with facial expressions and other means.

"I have found it easy to communicate with Isaiah. . . . He is always truthful and honest about his feelings and desires," said the Rev. Wesley Brubaker, a close family friend and pastor of Ascension Life Center, the West Alexandria church the Carrolls attend.

Further, Schenck said, "The expert opinions of numerous forensic experts only corroborates what (Isaiah) has communicated."

At least three known experts have attested that Josiah died from smothering.

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