Big Lake abuse case continues for grandparents

Date: 2008-08-19

by Angela Blanchard

PALMER, Alaska -- George and Shirley Long are accused of standing by while their adopted grandchildren were abused for years.

Their trial continued Tuesday in Palmer, with the jury hearing audio tapes of Shirley Long's interview with investigators.

The Longs are charged with failing to report violent crimes against their grandchildren. George Long is also charged with one count of assault against one of the children.

The prosecution continued presenting its case Tuesday, while the defense worked on painting a picture of George Long as a compassionate grandfather.

Brooke Kelley says she isn't bitter, despite the horrendous abuse she says she and her four siblings suffered for years. Now 19, she's a member of the National Guard.

"I feel that I'm the woman I am today because of what I've gone through," Kelley said. "I'm able to be strong and I'm able to hold myself together and move on with life and be resilient."

Defense attorneys spent time on the trial's second day cross-examining Kelley, asking her if George Long was ever nice.

The defense claims the 69-year-old bought a van for the kids to sleep in.

"He and Sherry both wanted us to be contained, so they knew where we were at all times, so then if we were sleeping in the vans they would be able to find us and wake us up, to start the daily chores and everything," Kelley said.

But attorneys continued the line of questioning, asking whether or not George Long in fact called 911, eventually alerting police to the abuse.

"Considering the fact of all the abuse that me and my siblings went through, I don't see how one phone call can make it better when we suffered all those years through all the abuse, and he clearly admits to knowing on the video-audio tape yesterday," Kelley said.

Meantime, prosecutors continued playing audio tapes, including one with an interview by Shirley Long. In it she recounts how one of the young children, Brandon, was burned on his legs and torso but not treated by medical professionals.

"I told her if it was my kid, I'd take him to the doctor, you know, but Sherry's 30 some years old and it's hard to hard to do things sometimes," Shirley said. "But I really didn't think that the burns were that bad."

The trial continues with the prosecution trying to convince the jury that the Longs turned a blind eye to the abuse.

The defense wants the Longs to get credit for eventually bringing it to an end.

They also asked Kelley about a boat and snowmachine that George Long allegedly have bought for the kids.

Kelley said there were toys on the property, but the kids would be punished for going near them.

Sherry and Patrick Kelley both served two years in prison for charges of assault and endangering a child.

Contact Angela Blanchard at


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