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Inspired by stories shared by birth parents, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees, PPL explores the dark side of adoption, and the consequences illegal and unethical actions have on future family-life and the well-being of those affected by adoption.

Too many children are placed for the benefit of agencies and based on the demands of prospective adoptive parents.

Too many children are placed in inappropriate homes because the business interests of adoption agencies have higher priority than the safety of children.

PPL documents and archives cases where the child placement system did not work in the best interest of the child and we offer a platform for those who want to express their thoughts and feelings about the dark side of child adoption.

Case news

Most recent articles added to the case archives

Attorneys of Habersham Co. couple say children fabricated abuse

Date: 2015-05-20

By Valerie Hoff

HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. -- Defense attorneys are painting a vastly different picture of what happened to four adopted children in the home of former Mt. Airy Police chief Richard Burton.

The children, who now range in age from 13 to 19, were removed the home of Burton and his wife Cheryle in 2012 after telling authorities they had been confined to a bedroom, beaten and underfed for seven years.

Burton was arrested and charged with child molestation. Both he and his wife were indicted on 28 counts of child cruelty.

Monday, they pleaded guilty to one count of second degree child cruelty for failing to feed the children proper nutrition and were sentenced to 25 consecutive weekends in jail, a sentence many in Clarkesville complained was too lenient.

But defense attorneys for the couple deny any abuse took place, including molestation.

"Just because someone is charged with something doesn't mean they did it, and doesn't mean the state could prove it," said Chief Public Defender Drew Powell, who represented Richard Burton.

Couple sentenced in child abuse case

Date: 2015-05-19

HABERSHAM COUNTY, Ga. -- A former Mt. Airy, Ga. police chief and his wife have pleaded guilty to child cruelty charges.

Richard and Cheryle Burton were facing 28 counts of child cruelty. Richard Burton was also charged with child molestation. They were set to go on trial in Habersham County on Monday, but negotiated a plea deal.

The charges centered around alleged abuse of their four adopted children. They were accused of keeping the children confined to a room for years with little food.

They pleaded guilty to three of those child cruelty charges. In exchange, all the other counts, including child molestation, were dropped.

They received sentences of 10 years each. They'll serve 25 consecutive weekends in the county jail; the rest will be served on probation. They also must pay a $10,000 fine.

Because the child molestation charges were dropped in the plea agreement, Richard Burton is not required to register as a sex offender.

SENTENCE QUESTIONED BY CHILDREN'S NEW ADOPTIVE PARENT

Habersham couple pleads, sentenced in child molestation case

Date: 2015-05-19

CLARKESVILLE - Habersham County Superior Court on Monday disposed of child cruelty charges against a Habersham County couple.

In a negotiated plea, Richard Scott Burton was sentenced to 10 years each after pleading guilty to four counts second-degree cruelty to children. The sentences will be served concurrently.

The first 25 weekends of the sentence must be served in confinement at the Habersham County Detention Center, with the balance of the sentence served on felony probation.

Two counts of aggravated child molestation, one count of child molestation, and 24 counts of first-degree cruelty to children against Richard Burton were nolle prossed, meaning they will not be pursued for prosecution.

Cheryle Lynn Burton entered a guilty plea to four counts of second-degree cruelty to children.

She was sentenced to 10 years for each, to be served concurrently. The first 25 weekends of the sentence are to be served in confinement at the Habersham County Detention Center, with the balance to be served on felony probation.

Nineteen additional charges of first-degree cruelty to children against Cheryle Burton were nolle prossed.

Woman Stands By Husband After He Confessed to Raping Her Daughters

Date: 2015-05-15

Stacy and Travis Yates adopted 6 children through the foster care system over the past 10 years. Travis was a Sergeant in the Air Force and Stacy is a stay at home mom. Stacy currently resides in Nixon, TX where she lives with the 3 remaining children ages 16, 14, and 11. Travis was convicted last week on multiple counts of sexual assault on a child and rape. He was sentenced to 37 years in military prison. The victims of his crimes are non other than his own adopted children. The two victims have since moved out of the home and are now 18 and 20 years old.

Russian children’s rights ombudsman to testify in US child sex abuse case

Date: 2015-05-15

MOSCOW, May 15 (RAPSI) – Russia's children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov wrote Friday via Instagram that he had been summoned as a witness in a child abuse case heard by a US court.

The trial of Michael Grismore, who was indicted on five counts involving the beating and sexual abuse of a child, his Russian-born adoptive daughter Ksenia Antonova, will be held at the Cherokee County Court in Georgia, United States, on May 18-21.

Ksenia was adopted by Marta Blanford in 2001, who gave up her parental rights in 2009. The child was then adopted by the woman’s sister and her husband, Michael Grismore.

Astakhov said after the tragedy that had Russian officials been informed of the second adoption, they could have objected or at least requested home-study reports on her new family.

Air Force sergeant admits to sexually abusing two young girls

Date: 2015-05-12

By Barry Davis

Air Force sergeant Travis Yates will spend the next 37 years behind bars.

This comes after Yates admitted last year to sexually molesting two young girls, one only 15 years old at the time.

Along with the prison term, Yates has also forfeited any pay and allowances, was reduced to grade E-1 and dishonorably discharged.

According to reports, the allegations surfaced after the youngest of the two girls moved out to California to live with her grandmother. One girl said her grandmother was talking about how one of her other grandchildren had been sexually molested, when she confessed to her grandmother that Yates had molested her and another family member.

From there, the young woman, who is now 20 years old, said they called Yates' wife and told her about it.

She said the wife was upset, but believed her. They then called Yates, who was in Florida at the time. When Yates returned to his home base, the Air Force OIG was called in.

One member of the biological family said it took way too long for the Air Force to prosecute and sentence Yates.

Md. Politician Sexually Abused As Child Wants To Change The Law

Date: 2015-05-11

by Mary Bubala

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A Charles County delegate has kept a dark secret for most of his life, but he finally shared it to help others.

Sexually abused by his adopted father, he tells Mary Bubala why the law must be changed to give victims the gift of time.

Charles County Delegate C.T. Wilson is a man with a painful past. He was sexually abused as a child by his adopted father.

“I can’t sit here and describe for you the pain of being beaten, sodomized and molested for years,” said Wilson.

He courageously testifies in Annapolis before the very lawmakers he works alongside every day in an effort to help victims of child sex abuse fight back, giving them more time to come forward and sue their abusers.

Bubala: “You had been in foster care, you were telling me, since you were four. You landed with this family, you had a father figure. When did you know something was really, really wrong?”

Trial underway for Ohio guardsman facing sex-abuse charges

Date: 2015-05-11

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
Associated Press

MARYSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio National Guardsman who has said he wanted to adopt a girl from Africa to protect her from rape went on trial Monday on charges he sexually abused three adopted daughters and his stepdaughter.

A prosecutor portrayed the defendant as a man who betrayed the responsibility a father has for protecting his daughter in the worst way possible, while the man’s attorney said the rapes never happened and pointed the finger instead at the man’s stepson, who has never been implicated.

The defendant, 42, of Marysville in central Ohio, was originally charged in 2013, and the charges were updated last year. The charges include rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, intimidation and tampering with evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.

Tucson couple indicted on federal kidnapping charges

Date: 2015-05-07

An Illinois couple living in Tucson who were accused of misrepresenting themselves to gain custody of another couple's adopted child face federal kidnapping charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted 37-year-old Nicole Eason of Danville and 46-year-old Calvin Eason of Westville on charges of kidnapping and transporting a child across state lines.

Prosecutors allege the Easons participated in an online discussion board with adoptive parents seeking new homes for children they no longer wanted or couldn't care for. The Easons allegedly lied about their background, and one couple brought their adopted child to Illinois in 2007.

Prosecutors say the Easons allegedly sexually abused that child while they had custody.

Authorities allege they kidnapped a second child in the same manner in 2008, allegedly transporting that child across state lines.

The Easons were living in Tucson when they were arrested in early April.

Illinois couple indicted in kidnapping of adopted child

Date: 2015-05-07

By The Associated Press

Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:22 AM

An Illinois couple accused of misrepresenting themselves to gain custody of another couple's adopted child face federal kidnapping charges.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that a grand jury indicted 37-year-old Nicole Eason of Danville and 46-year-old Calvin Eason of Westville on charges of kidnapping and transporting a child across state lines.

Prosecutors allege the Easons participated in an online discussion board with adoptive parents seeking new homes for children they no longer wanted or couldn't care for. The Easons allegedly lied about their background, and one couple brought their adopted child to Illinois in 2007.

Prosecutors say the Easons allegedly sexually abused that child while they had custody.

Authorities allege they kidnapped a second child in the same manner in 2008, allegedly transporting that child across state lines.

Illinois Couple Indicted for Kidnapping and Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Sexual Activity

Date: 2015-05-06

U.S. Department of Justice
May 06, 2015

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON—A federal grand jury indicted an Illinois couple on charges of kidnapping and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis of the Central District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge Sean Cox of the FBI’s Springfield Division.

“Parents with adopted children who are struggling are all too frequently targets for those willing to say and do whatever it takes to gain access to those vulnerable children,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “The Criminal Division is committed to bringing to justice anyone who seeks to exploit children and risk their safety. Every child in America deserves a safe home.”

“Protecting children is a community responsibility,” said U.S. Attorney Lewis. “Law enforcement relies on the assistance of proactive neighbors, school officials and parents to protect our kids.”

Teen son of Army major and wife testifies against parents for second time

Date: 2015-05-05

By Thomas Zambito

The 16-year-old son of an Army major and his wife recalled for jurors Tuesday the day he broke down in tears and revealed that his parents were using hot sauce and a raw onion to discipline his three adopted siblings.

The teenager said he was on a weekend trip to his grandparents' house in South Bend, Indiana in 2010 when, after some prodding from his grandfather, he decided to unburden himself of the secret he'd kept for years.

"I felt scared because the next thing I was going to say could get me into a lot of trouble," he testified. "On the other hand I felt like it was my job to tell them the truth...I told the (grandparents) I didn't agree with what was going on in my house."

Army Maj, John Jackson and his wife, Carolyn, are facing federal charges of assault and child endangerment for allegedly abusing their three adopted children between the years 2005 and 2010. During a portion of that time the family was living at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County.

Ex-prosecutor's wife paroled in adopted children abuse case

Date: 2015-04-28

PITTSBURGH — The wife of a former state prosecutor who along with her husband was convicted of abusing their adopted Ethiopian children was granted parole Tuesday after she completed her six-month minimum sentence.

Defense attorney Robert Stewart argued that the judge's decision to grant parole should have been "routine" but said the case against Kristen Barbour had become a "public flogging" thanks to talk-radio critics who wanted her treated more harshly.

"She's been treated much harsher than someone else" in similar circumstances, Stewart said. "She's been the subject of repugnant, detestable talk-show hosts and yammering, cockamamie callers."

Barbour, 33, and her husband Douglas, 35, were sentenced in September after pleading no contest to child endangerment counts in June. Douglas Barbour pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts and was given five years' probation. He resigned from the state attorney general's office after the couple was charged in October 2012, and his law license was suspended in February.

State child welfare officials review adoption screening process after beating death of 9-year-old

Date: 2015-04-24

By Katie Mettler

NEW PORT RICHEY — State child welfare officials are reviewing their adoption screening process after an investigation into the death of 9-year-old Jenica Randazzo at the hands of her mentally ill uncle revealed potentially dangerous gaps in the system.

Officials also said that Eckerd Community Alternatives, the subcontractor agency responsible for the girl's adoptive placement, has implemented new policies to strengthen communication between their case managers and child protection investigators after it was revealed that information about the man's mental illness was not passed from one entity to the other.

Randazzo and her 55-year-old grandmother Angela Rios were beaten to death with a tire iron by the girl's uncle, Jason Rios, at their home on Catherine Street in New Port Richey February 5, Pasco County sheriff's deputies said. Rios faces two counts of first degree murder and an attempted murder charge related to an attack on one of Randazzo's siblings the same day, deputies said.

Mom accused of manslaughter in toddler’s asphyxiation death wants test of medical equipment

Date: 2015-04-20

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The involuntary manslaughter trial for the mother accused of gross negligence in the death of her 18-month-old daughter is on hold as tests are conducted of equipment that was supposed to keep the toddler alive.

Rebecca Joy Cotes is accused of failing to employ monitoring equipment when she put the child, Hannah Hoag, in her crib for the night on March 26, 2014. She is charged with involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The toddler died as a result of her trachea tube being dislodged, causing her to asphyxiate, according to Kent County Medical Examiner Stephen Cohle.

Hannah had a tumor in her airway that impeded her ability to breathe, necessitating the tube, according to court records.

Wyoming Police investigators say a monitoring device meant to sound an alarm when the breathing tube was dislodged was not hooked up. Police and Child Protective Services investigated the incident for 10 months before charges were filed.

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