Another Dollar daughter wants to visit siblings

Date: 2005-02-27

St. Petersburg Times

Another daughter of the Citrus County couple accused of torturing some of their children has begun to push for visitation with her siblings.

Known in public only as "A.D," the 17-year-old is trying to force state officials to let her visit her brothers and sisters.

"They all need to see each other," said Bill Grant, the Inverness lawyer representing the girl. "They are all being kept apart, except for the twins."

Seven of John and Linda Dollar's adopted children, ages 12 to 17, have been placed in foster homes, said court-appointed guardian Ernest Thomas.

Thomas said last week that said none of the abused children had asked to visit with "A.D."

Authorities allege the Dollars tortured five of their children through beatings, pulling out their fingernails and toenails and depriving them of food.

At a hearing last week, Thomas recommended against granting another sister, Shanda Rae Shelton, 25, of New Port Richey visitation privileges.

Department of Children and Families officials said that when she lived with the Dollars, Shelton took part in the abuse, locking her siblings in closets and holding one of them underwater. She never reported the abuse after she moved from the home, they said.

Citrus sheriff's officials said Shelton, the 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were not abused.

Grant, who also represented Shelton, said DCF "sandbagged" him at last week's hearing with the abuse allegations regarding Shelton and that the DCF was keeping the children apart "to preserve their criminal case."

The newest round of legal action will seek a court order allowing "A.D." to see her siblings and to compel the DCF to bring her to all court hearings involving the children, Grant said.

Attempts Saturday to contact DCF for comment were unsuccessful.


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