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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

Residents of quiet Medina community shaken by suspected murder-suicide

Date: 2015-09-19

By Evan MacDonald,

MEDINA, Ohio -- Several residents of the small, quiet Medina community where three people were found dead in a suspected murder-suicide said they were stunned when investigators removed their bodies from the condo late Friday.

Detectives believe the three people found dead Friday evening in the Pinewood Estates condominium complex on Pinewood Drive are a husband, a wife and their adopted child, who was developmentally disabled. Their names have not been released.

The neighborhood was quiet Saturday afternoon. The lock was removed from the condo where officers found the three bodies, and a missed delivery notice was hanging on the condo's door.

Neighbors said the man and woman who lived in the condo were quiet, but could regularly be seen walking hand-in-hand through the complex, often with their two Jack Russell Terriers.

"They always walked hand-in-hand," neighbor Sandra Miller said. "They seemed very happy, but you never know what goes on inside someone's house."

Autumn Dawes said she barely knew the man and the woman, but that they were friendly to neighbors.

Jane Doe in Indiana becomes Fitchburg homicide; woman charged in 2007 death

Date: 2015-09-15


Erika Antoinette Hill was 15 years old when she disappeared in 2007 from the home in Fitchburg where had she lived with her cousins and adoptive mother.

The same year, the unidentified body of a young African-American woman was found in a garage in Gary, Indiana. For years, she remained the “Lake County Jane Doe.”

The two mysteries, seemingly far apart from one another, became linked this summer, when Erika’s cousin, for years keeping a terrible secret, contacted police in Gary and said she knew the identity of Jane Doe, because she had helped put Erika’s body in that garage, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

The person alleged to have ordered the woman and her siblings to move Erika’s body was her mother, Taylin M. Hill, 50, of Madison, who on Monday was charged with first-degree reckless homicide for Erika’s death. Hill also faces six counts of child abuse.

Salinas women sentenced in torture, child abuse case

Date: 2015-07-17

Two Salinas women convicted of torturing and abusing their three children have been sentenced to prison terms, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Christian Deanda was sentenced to life in prison for committing torture (the maximum sentence), plus 13 years, 4 months consecutive in state prison for the remaining counts of child abuse, false imprisonment and child endangerment. Eraca Craig was also sentenced to a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison for committing child abuse with great bodily injury, false imprisonment and child endangerment.

Unnamed parents plead guilty of abusing adopted daughter

Date: 2015-07-16

By: Greg Palmer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita couple has pleaded guilty to beating and abusing a girl they were foster parents to and later adopted.

The Wichita Eagle reports the couple pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including child abuse, aggravated battery and criminal restraint. They had denied the allegations.

The 15-year-old girl and three other children were taken into protective custody in March 2014. A child-in-need-of-care petition alleges that the girl's adoptive parents at times chained her in a basement and gave her a bucket to use as a toilet.

Authorities say the girl, who was 14 at the time, weighed just 66 pounds when she was removed from the home.

The girl and the other children remain in foster care pending the outcome of their child-in-need-of-care case.

The Eagle has not named the parents in order to protect the identity of the children.

Martin And Kathleen O’Brien: Abuse Trial Of Mom And Dad Details Horrifying Cruelty To Adopted Kids

Date: 2015-07-14

The much-anticipated child abuse trial of Martin and Kathleen O’Brien, a Wisconsin couple arrested in 2012 on charges of physically abusing children they adopted from Russia and Guatemala, finally opened last week with graphic details of the adoptive parents’ horrifying cruelty right out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale.

The O’Briens have pleaded not guilty to the distressing charges, claiming that they are the real victims of a “herd” of foreign children who refused to adapt to their American ways, becoming uncontrollable and frightening to the O’Briens’ own biological children.

The case came to light in the summer of 2011 when a longtime neighbor of the O’Briens witnessed one of the adopted girls struggling to push a hand-operated lawnmower through tall grass on a blistering hot day, when the neighbor knew that the O’Brien family owned a riding mower.

The girl did not smile, wave, or acknowledge the neighbor in any way. Just a few weeks later, after an investigation, Child Protective Services removed five of six adopted children from the O’Briens’ home.

Former Army major and wife guilty of abusing adopted kids

Date: 2015-07-08

By Thomas Zambito

NEWARK - A federal jury convicted former Army Maj. John Jackson and his wife, Carolyn, of child endangerment and assault charges Wednesday for what prosecutors say was a cruel punishment regimen that targeted their three adopted children.

On its fifth day of deliberations, the jury found the Jacksons guilty of nearly all of the 24 charges they were facing, including conspiring to endanger the children's welfare and assault.

Prosecutors say the Jackson fed the three children -- each under the age of four at the time -- hot sauce and raw onions and broke their bones for offenses that included being too slow to get in a car seat. In addition to their three adopted children, the Jacksons have three biological children.

The Jacksons, sitting less than five feet away from one another at the defense table, did not react visibly when the verdict was delivered around 1:30 p.m. in U.S. District Court. They left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

Judge Katharine Hayden set their sentencing date for Oct. 13, 2105.

Corona man accused of sexually abusing 13-year-old adopted son

Date: 2015-07-07

By Rob McMillan

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 54-year-old Corona man has been accused of sexually abusing one of his two adopted sons.

The victim was accompanied by his older brother when he walked up to the front counter of the Corona police station and reported the alleged abuse on June 28.

Corona police officers served a search warrant on July 2 at Patrick Michael Anderson's home in the 3200 block of Star Canyon Circle.

Neighbor Ray Tafoya says Anderson has lived in the area for a while. He, however, didn't know much about the two boys who Anderson adopted in 2012.

"My kids know of his kids, and they say that they go to intermediate school," Tafoya said.

Anderson was arrested later that day at Common Ground Corona, a spiritual community in Norco, on four felony charges, including oral copulation while the person is unconscious, sodomy, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and lewd acts with a child.

"There is no evidence at the time to support that Anderson used Common Ground Corona as a place to commit his alleged crimes," the police department said in a press release.

Yucaipa Man Suspected Of Sexually Molesting 2 Foster Children

Date: 2015-07-02

YUCAIPA ( — A 68-year-old man remained in custody Thursday on suspicion of sexually assaulting two female foster children.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Stephen Darrell Taylor, of Yucaipa, served as a foster family for the Arrowhead Foster Family Agency, Inc., with his wife between 2002 and 2008.

During this time frame, Taylor is accused of sexually assaulting two female foster children — who were between the ages of 5 and 11-years-old at the time — for several years.

The Taylor family eventually adopted the victims. The family resided at three different homes, located in the 23300 block of Crestline Road, the 160 block of Mile High Road, and Fir Lane in the Crestline Community.

Deputies said the children were removed from the Taylor family home in 2008 by San Bernardino County Children and Family Services due to allegations of physical abuse.

The sexual abuse was then reported to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station, which was subsequently passed along to Crimes Against Children Detail as the case involved a certified foster family.

Nakia Brice: Mom Claimed Self Defense When She Hit 9-Year-Old Son With Baseball Bat, Cops Say

Date: 2015-07-02

Nakia Brice, a 34-year-old mom of three in Whetstone, Arizona, found herself under arrest Wednesday afternoon after she took her 9-year-old son into the emergency room to be treated for head injuries that the mom said took place when the little boy, who suffers from the severe developmental disability known as Down syndrome, fell out of a tree.

The boy was placed in the intensive car unit at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. But workers with the Arizona Department if Child Services felt that something didn’t add up about Brice’s story, so they started asking her questions.

Suspicions were also raised when doctors found that the little boy had not only experienced severe head injuries, but also displayed several injuries in various stages of healing — injuries that had clearly been somehow inflicted at various earlier points in time.

Those other injuries included fractures to both the boy’s spine and his ribs.

Sheriff: Whetstone mother beat 9-year-old disabled boy with baseball bat

Date: 2015-07-02

By Dylan Smith

The mother of a nine-year-old boy hospitalized with head trauma has been arrested on assault and abuse charges after telling investigators she struck the boy with a baseball bat, authorities said. The boy has Down Syndrome and is unable to speak, a Cochise County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

The woman, 34-year-old Nakia Brice, was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of aggravated assault and one count of child abuse and booked into the Cochise County Jail, said CCSO's Carol Capas.

Brice told authorities that she "lost control defending herself" with the bat when the boy was "acting out" by kicking, biting and scratching, Capas said.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted about the case Monday by staffers with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, Capas said, after the boy was taken to Banner University Medical Center in Tucson.

"An initial hospital report stated that the mother said the boy had fallen from a tree causing head injuries," Capas said in a news release.

Yucaipa foster father accused of sexually abusing adopted daughters in Crestline

Date: 2015-07-02

By Beatriz Valenzuela,

YUCAIPA >> A longtime foster father was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two foster girls he and his wife eventually adopted.

Stephen Darrell Taylor, 68, was arrested at the Loma Linda Veteran’s Administration Hospital Wednesday and booked into West Valley Detention Center on suspicion of oral copulation of a minor, sexual intercourse with force and sexual assault of a child, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s booking records.

Taylor and his wife served as a foster family for the Arrowhead Foster Family Agency, Inc., between the years of 2002 and 2008. During that time, investigators believe Taylor sexually abused two of the girls, ages 5 and 11, placed in their care. It’s unclear if his wife was aware of the alleged abuse.

Taylor allegedly sexually abused the children for several years. The girls were eventually adopted by the Taylors.

The family resided in three different homes during that time frame on Crestline Road, Mile High Road and Fir Lane in the Crestline community.

Longtime foster parent arrested for sexual assault

Date: 2015-07-02

Stephen Darrell Taylor, 68, of Yucaipa and his wife served as a foster family for the Arrowhead Foster Family Agency, Inc. between the years of 2002 and 2008. During that time, Stephen Taylor allegedly sexually abused two of the female foster children placed in his care. Taylor allegedly sexually abused the children for several years. The victims ranged in age from five to eleven and were eventually adopted by the Taylors. The family resided in three different homes during that time frame on Crestline Road, Mile High Road, and Fir Lane in the Crestline community. The sexual abuse continued until the children were removed by the San Bernardino County Children and Family Services in 2008 due to allegations of physical abuse. The sexual abuse was reported to the Twin Peaks Sheriff Station and turned over to the Crimes Against Children Detail because it involved a certified foster family.

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.


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.

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