MOTHER'S INACTION BRINGS PRISON

Relates to:
Date: 2003-10-15

2 KIDS LEFT TO ABUSE
AKRON WOMAN SUSPECTED HUSBAND BUT DIDN'T TELL OFFICIALS. TWO-YEAR TERM COULD END EARLY
Author: Phil Trexler, Beacon Journal staff writer

An Akron couple who traveled to Russia to adopt two children are now both prison inmates.

Bonnie Hyre, 35, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison. Her husband, Gerald, was sentenced in April to 16 years.

While Gerald Hyre abused their 2-year-old children over several months, breaking bones and paralyzing one in a fit of parental frustration, Bonnie Hyre looked the other way, prosecutors said.

She photographed the injuries, talked to co-workers at Walgreens about her suspicions, and then destroyed the pictures without contacting authorities, prosecutors said.

Last month, she pleaded guilty to permitting child abuse and tampering with evidence. Her plea agreement with prosecutors calls for her release in nine months, but Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jane Bond made no such promise in Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

In April, Gerald Hyre, 32, pleaded guilty to felonious assault and child endangering.

Bonnie Hyre, surrounded by an aisle-full of supporters, dabbed away tears as she stood in court. "There's not enough words to describe how sorry I am," she said. "I'm so sorry I did not protect my children. And I hope that someday they will be able to forgive me and know that I love them both very much."

The Hyres, unable to conceive children, paid thousands of dollars to a private agency in Medina that arranged for them to adopt Kelsey and Nathan in January 2002. By October, the abuse had paralyzed Kelsey.

Kelsey is living with a Mogadore couple who want to adopt her. She is unable to walk, but attends preschool. Her adoptive brother remains with his adoptive maternal grandmother. Both children are 3.

"It's beyond my understanding how you could have seen and known what was being done to your own child in your own home, photograph it, discuss with others and do absolutely nothing to protect them, nothing," Bond said.

Caption:
1- Bonnie Hyre of Akron reads a statement before being sentenced to prison. "I'm so sorry I did not protect my children," she said, adding that she hopes they will forgive her someday. ** 2- Kelsey Hyre (above), 3, adopted from Russia, lives with a Mogadore couple who want to adopt her. She is paralyzed from past abuse.

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