Sharen Gravelle released from jail

Date: 2011-03-18

After serving nearly two years in prison, Sharen Gravelle is free - and Michael Gravelle will be out soon, too.

By Annie Zelm

After serving nearly two years in prison, Sharen Gravelle is free — and Michael Gravelle will be out soon, too.

The estranged pair convicted of child endangering and child abuse have served their scheduled sentences, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.

Sharen Gravelle, 62, was admitted to prison April 7, 2009, and released Wednesday from the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland.

Michael Gravelle, 62, was admitted April 6, 2009, and is scheduled to be released Monday from the Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville.

Both will be on parole for the next three years.

Their releases mark the end of a criminal case that dragged on for more than five years, starting in 2005 when social workers removed the adopted and foster children from their home after an investigation.

The Gravelles kept some of the special needs children in alarmed enclosures and used cruel and unorthodox ways to discipline them, according to court records.

Sharen Gravelle testified that she and her husband built the enclosed beds to protect the children, so they didn't wander during the night.

Huron County Court of Common Pleas Judge Earl McGimpsey sentenced the Gravelles to two years in prison in 2007, after a jury convicted them on four felony charges of child endangering, two misdemeanor charges of child endangering and five misdemeanor charges of child abuse.

They were both acquitted on 17 other charges, according to court records. Their sentences were postponed during a series of appeals, but they ultimately lost.

Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler said the judge apparently felt the Gravelles were "basically good people," but he disagrees.

"They should have gotten a lot longer (sentences)," Leffler said. "Some of the children are doing well, some not as well."

The Gravelles' attorney, Kenneth D. Myers, did not return a call seeking comment.

The children ranged from 1 to 14 years old when they were taken from the Gravelles' home near Wakeman.

At least two of the children are now suing the Gravelles. They're also seeking compensation from Hamilton County, Adopt America Network, their social workers and Fairhaven Counseling.

Last March, Huron County awarded a $1.2 million settlement to be split among the 11 children, depending on their needs and the severity of the abuse they suffered.


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