Opinion: The judge was wrong Reopening adopted girls' abuse cases necessary

Date: 2010-04-18
Source: Enid News

ENID — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a 30-day period set aside to focus on preventing the abuse and neglect of some of society’s most vulnerable members.

So why did a Major County judge allow a couple convicted of physically abusing one of their adopted children to retain custody of four other adopted children?

The judge, Associate District Judge Vinson Barefoot, ruled March 29 the girls, who were adopted from Liberia, would remain with their adopted parents, Ardee and Penny Tyler. The Tylers were convicted of abusing their second oldest adopted child, now 13, and were given a 10-year suspended prison sentence. Their biological son was convicted of molesting the same girl and their biological daughter was convicted of assaulting her. Oh, and the couple’s 28-year-old son testified he was abused by the couple when he was a child.

The judge said his ruling was based on conversations with the Tylers’ adopted daughters and records provided by the Department of Human Services. The judge said if he felt the children were in danger he would have removed him from the home.

Jeremy Tyler, Ardee’s son and Penny’s stepson, said his stepmother washed out his mouth with soap until he vomited, struck him with wooden kitchen tools and beat him with a belt, leaving welts. Penny’s sister, Cheryl Knudson, said she caught Penny feeding her young son green beans until he would vomit.

The adopted children have been removed from the home. We applaud the decision to reopen the girls’ child welfare case.

With the number of couples seeking to adopt children, and willing to provide safe, loving homes, it seems inconceivable these children would be forced to remain in a home in which there is a documented history of abuse.

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