Citrus couple face more charges of child abuse

Date: 2005-03-02

JIM ROSS
St. Petersburg Times

John and Linda Dollar, the Citrus County couple accused of torturing five of their eight adopted children, each face four additional charges of aggravated child abuse and torture, according to court records.

Arrested Feb. 4 in southeastern Utah on a Citrus County warrant, the Dollars each faced one charge of aggravated child abuse.

The Dollars are accused of harming their adopted children in several ways, including starving them, pulling out their toenails with pliers and locking them in a closet for long periods of time.

A hearing for the couple is scheduled for March 15 at 4 p.m.

As the criminal case against the couple continues, the courthouse battle regarding the couple's children rages at full strength.

The Department of Children and Families and the Guardian Ad Litem's Office have demonstrated a "lack of humanity" when handling the Dollar children, Inverness lawyer Bill Grant said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Grant and law partner Bo Samargya said they represented the Dollars' 17-year-old daughter. On Monday, the lawyers filed a notice of appearance on behalf of the girl and formally asked the court to allow her to visit her siblings. They, like her, are in foster care.

The girl also asked to visit - and possibly live with - her oldest sibling: Shanda Rae Shelton, 25, of Pasco County.

Also Monday, a Citrus judge appointed another lawyer to serve as attorney ad litem for the 17-year-old, who is identified in court records only by the initials A.D.

The move enraged Grant and Samargya, who said they never received notice that such action was even contemplated. They said the girl has the constitutional right to legal representation - and the right to choose that representative.

There could be a hearing as soon as 8 a.m. today to clarify the child's legal representation.

John Dollar, 59, and his 52-year-old wife are being held at the Citrus County jail on felony charges of child abuse and neglect. Authorities say they tortured their children, using starvation, isolation, belts and pliers, among other techniques and tools.

Seven of their eight children were living with the Dollars until late January. The DCF placed those children, ages 12 to 17, in foster homes.

In a motion that Grant and Samargya received Tuesday, the DCF asked the court to revoke Shelton's status as a participant in the court action regarding the welfare of her siblings.

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