ADOPTIVE MOTHER CHARGED IN ABUSE; BONNIE HYRE SUSPECTED CRIME, DIDN'T DO ENOUGH TO HALT IT, PROSECUTORS SAY

Relates to:
Date: 2003-05-15

Author: Phil Trexler, Beacon Journal staff writer

Prosecutors say Bonnie Hyre suspected her husband was abusing their adopted children while she was away.

She photographed the children's injuries last summer and showed them to co-workers at Walgreens, prosecutors contend.

But that, they say, was the extent of her effort to help her daughter and son. By fall, the photos were destroyed and one of those beatings left her daughter paralyzed from the waist down.

Last month, Gerald Hyre was sent to prison for 16 years for the beating he inflicted on the girl, whom he and his wife adopted from Russia a year earlier.

On Wednesday, Bonnie Hyre, 34, was arraigned in Summit County Common Pleas Court on two counts each of child endangerment and permitting child abuse. She was also charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

She was freed on a $2,500 bond and is scheduled to appear May 23 for a pretrial hearing. Her case was assigned to Judge Jane Bond, the same judge who sentenced her husband last month.

Defense lawyer Don Malarcik disputed the prosecution's version of Bonnie Hyre's involvement. He said the mother has been forthcoming with Akron police and Children Services Board workers who investigated the case.

He said Bonnie Hyre took Kelsey and her adopted brother, Nathan, to doctor's appointments whenever an injury appeared. Gerald Hyre, he said, always had an explanation for the various injuries and the doctors and Bonnie Hyre believed him.

"She had no idea the abuse was occurring and neither did the doctors," Malarcik said. "I think holding Bonnie to a higher standard than we did the doctors who examined the two kids is inherently unfair."

After failing to conceive a child on their own, the Kenmore couple traveled to Russia and adopted Kelsey and Nathan in January 2002 through a private agency in Medina.

Police say Gerald Hyre, 32, abused the children over several months. He nearly severed Kelsey's spine last September when he slammed her against an object. The girl will never be able to walk and will need medical care the rest of her life.

At his sentencing, Hyre told the judge he lost his temper because of the girl's incessant crying.

Nathan, 3, has been removed from the home and placed with his maternal grandmother. Kelsey, who turns 3 in July, is living with a foster family in Mogadore.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach said Bonnie Hyre failed her children.

"Mothers are supposed to protect their kids," she said. "There was any number of things she could have done such as counseling for her husband or bringing the abuse to the attention of authorities.

"But she did nothing and now we have a child who is paralyzed for life. It's a tragedy."

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