Parents arrested for caging son, 19

Date: 2014-10-30

BY KELLY KRAGER

PARIS TOWNSHIP - The adoptive parents of several mentally and physically disabled youths were arrested on warrants requested after a sheriff’s deputy discovered they kept their legally blind and non-verbal son locked in a caged bed.

Timothy Tolin, 66, and Karen “Sue” Tolin, 65, were arraigned Tuesday in Huron County District Court on charges of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony charge, and vulnerable adult abuse-third degree, a high-court two-year misdemeanor. The Tolins were each released on a bond of $5,000, which was set by Huron County District Judge David Herrington.

The 19-year-old man was discovered Oct. 20 by Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Bismack, who had responded to a civil dispute at the Tolin home, located at 3700 Minden Road.

After speaking with the parties involved, Bismack was granted permission to enter one of the bedrooms in the home, where he found the alleged victim.

“(The alleged victim) was found what appeared to be an old fashioned metal hospital crib. There was no mattress, just a board and one blanket inside the enclosure. (He) was found to be completely naked, and the crib was locked closed with a blue bicycle-style lock. The bedroom had an overwhelming stench of urine, and there was a large area of the floor which had urine on it. There was no evidence of clothing or a diaper in the room. (He) was also observed to throw his feces out of his enclosure,” noted a child protective proceedings petition filed Friday in Huron County Family Court.

On Monday, the court granted a request by the Department of Human Services to remove two of the Tolins’s other adopted children, a 14-year-old male who was described as cognitively impaired with an IQ of 46, and a 12-year-old male who is diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy and retinopathy prematurity.

Three adults in the Tolins’ care were also removed from the home.

Court records indicate that the Department of Human Services has a history of involvement with the Tolin family.

In 2010, the Huron County Intermediate School District and Ubly Community Schools petitioned Huron County Circuit Court Family Division regarding a charge the Tolins educationally abused and neglected seven minor children.

The petition was resolved after the Tolins agreed to allow a third-party monitor to conduct home visits to check on the welfare of the children. Gerald Prill, a Bad Axe attorney, was named as the monitor and was responsible to conduct at least four home visits during the year following the agreement, two of which to be unannounced, and at least two home visits each subsequent year, one of which should be unannounced.

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski said in his review of the Tolin’s Family Court file, there were no reports documenting Prill’s visits to the home.

In a prepared statement emailed Tuesday to the Huron County View, Prill stated it would be inappropriate for him to disclose information regarding his meetings or discussions with the Tolin children outside the court.

“My job is to follow the case and report my findings to the court of any issues related to the welfare of minor children. If something is discovered, I would turn that information over to the court or in this case, as a monitor, the parties involved. Though I am tempted and in some ways feel pressured by others to release information, anything related to minor children or even protective adult issues is covered by privacy and privilege. My obligation in this matter is to report findings of any alleged educational neglect of minor children. If I discovered any, it would be reported accordingly. I would do the same if I discovered vulnerable adult abuse. Unfortunately, not every action regarding a child or a vulnerable adult is discovered in a home visit. Further, as it appears that an investigation is ongoing and criminal charges have been filed, I am obligated to follow the law and the rules that apply to me,” Prill wrote.

Rutkowski added that the case is unlike any he’s seen in his experience as a prosecutor.

“This is a terrible circumstance and a tragedy all the way around,” Rutkowski said. “These are the kind of individuals who need to be protected by the rest of us from abuse such as this, because they can’t protect themselves.”

He added that after children are adopted by parents, there is typically no monitoring by the court.

“The only unique facet we have here is this agreement that was signed after the school district filed the educational neglect petition, which assigned a third-party monitor to look out for the children,” Rutkowski said.

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