Mom guilty of allowing abuse; Woman didn't stop her husband

Relates to:
Date: 2003-09-23

Author: Karen Farkas; Plain Dealer Reporter

Akron - Bonnie Hyre never confronted her husband about cuts, bruises and other injuries to the two small Russian children they adopted.

She told co-workers, to whom she showed pictures she took of the injuries, that she was too scared to take them to a doctor because she thought the children would be removed from their home, said Jay Cole, an assistant Summit County prosecutor.

But she knew they were being abused, he said, and her inaction led to an incident last September in which her then-2-year-old adopted daughter was injured so severely she is paralyzed from the waist down.

"She knew the abuse was going on and had a duty to protect the children," Cole said.

Yesterday, as she wiped tears from her eyes, Bonnie Hyre pleaded guilty to permitting child abuse and tampering with evidence for destroying the photographs after a police investigation began.

Her lawyer, Don Malarcik, said once she accepted responsibility for her role, she helped police in their investigation of her husband. Her husband, Gerald, was sentenced in April to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to felonious assault and child endangering.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jane Bond will sentence Hyre on Oct. 14. An agreement between Cole and Malarcik recommends she receive two years in prison, with release in nine months.

"Looking back, she realizes she should have made better decisions," Malarcik said.

Hyre is free on bond but did not comment.

According to Cole and assistant prosecutor Beth Aronson, who prosecuted Gerald Hyre, the couple adopted Kelsey, 2, and Nathan, 2½, in early 2002. After Bonnie Hyre, 35, went back to her full-time job at Walgreen's, Gerald Hyre, 32, watched the children.

The children suffered a number of injuries over that summer, Aronson and Cole said. Gerald Hyre told his wife that Kelsey broke her foot after falling from a rocking horse. The only time Bonnie was home when abuse occurred was when Gerald told her Nathan had put a baby wipe in his mouth, Aronson said. Actually, Gerald had stuffed it down his throat.

On Sept. 25, Gerald Hyre told his wife he accidentally dropped Kelsey on the floor. Kelsey had two broken bones in her mid-lower back and her spinal column was completely dislocated. Doctors said the injuries were caused by a more violent act.

Bonnie Hyre has relinquished custody of Kelsey, who is in a foster home. She is trying to regain custody of Nathan, who lives with a grandparent, Cole said.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

kfarkas@plaind.com, 1-800-628-6689

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