Attachment therapy abuse cases



Boy adopted by Paul and Debbie Salvetti

A 13 year old ethnic Roma boy adopted from Russia was confined to in his room and deprived of food and schooling by Paul and Debbie Salvetti, his adoptive father and stepmother, during a 3 month period in 2007. Earlier Debbie was alleged to have hit the boy with a frying pan and baseball bat. Debbie Sue Salvetti was charged with two counts of felony child abuse inflicting serious injury. Paul Joseph Salvetti faced one charge. In 2009, Paul and Debbie took a joint Alford plea and were sentenced to 20 to 33 months in jail. Paul filed several appeals requesting to withdraw his Alford plea The boy is referred to as Pesha or TS in the pleadings.
There were 3 or 4 other children in the home, including the boy's sister, possibly adopted in Peru.
The boy was adopted as an infant or toddler by Paul Salvetti and the now deceased Leslie Salvetti, who passed away in 1998.
Date: 2007-01-01
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Other family member
Home schooling: yes

Location

Kernersville, North Carolina
United States
See map: Google Maps

Girl adopted by Snohomish couple

A girl, removed from a polygamous clan in Utah, was placed for adoption with a couple who moved from Utah to Snohomish, WA. The girl was subsequently sexually abused by her adoptive father. A female Bothell, WA therapist had advised the adoptive couple to start sleeping with the girl.
Date: 2012-01-21
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Sexual abuse
Abuser: Adoptive father

Location

Everett, Washington
United States
See map: Google Maps

Casey "C.J." Elgie

5 year old Vietnamese boy, adopted by Jessica Vitale-Elgie and William Elgie, died 10 hours after ingesting a detergent/bleach solution from a bucket soaking his recently soiled underclothes. CJ was developementally delayed and weighed 30lbs. Ms Vitale-Elgie admitted she was disciplining the boy and let him suffer for hours prior to taking him to the hospital.

The Elgie's had a 6 yr girl from Korea and twin infant bio sons at the time of CJ's death. Ms Elgie had sought various therapies including attachment therapy for CJ.

Vitale-Elgie pleaded guilty in December 2002 to negligent homicide but later withdrew the plea when faced with a state prison term. In 2004, she was convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment. William Elgie was never charged. Both he and his now ex-wife were ruled neglectful parents during Family Court proceedings.

At the time of the adoptive mother's conviction, she was on a paid leave from her job as a special-education teacher in the Buffalo (NY) school system.

Date: 2000-08-30
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Lethal neglect
Abuser: Adoptive mother

Location

Amherst, New York
United States
See map: Google Maps

Jeannie Warren

As a teenager, Jeannie Warren was under the treatment of Dr Robert Gross for more than a year. During that period, he beat her, threatened her and restrained her with “rage reduction therapy,” an early name for Attachment Therapy. Sessions lasted three to five hours; after a session, she would have swelling, purplish-red welt on her rib cage.

Warren’s early years were allegedly traumatic, including watching her biological mother shoot her father. She was hospitalized after she allegedly sexually abused one adoptive brother, went after another with a hatchet, and carved on her forehead.

She successfully sued and won a judgment against Dr. Gross.

Date: 1989-01-01
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Other non-family member

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Robert Gross

Location

Arlington, Texas
United States
See map: Google Maps

Boy adopted by couple from Colorado Springs

11-year-old boy, one of 5 adopted by a couple from Colorado Springs, was forced to spend days and nights in a small room beneath stairs with only a wool blanket and bucket in which to relieve himself.  When he wasn't confined to that space, he was forced to masturbate in front of siblings, do calisthenics in the nude, wear a dog shock collar, and he was forced to eat his meals on the floor while the rest of the family dined at the table.

On good days, the adopted boy lived in a sparse basement day room, kept separate from the rest of the family.

According to the adoptive mother, she followed suggested therapies for his attachment disorder, such as employing reverse psychology and making him earn his meals and play time through good behavior.

She said one unlicensed therapist, Deborah Hage of Silverthorne, told her to put the boy in the space beneath the stairs when he was bad.

Hage wouldn't comment on the case and said she was "never the family therapist."

Prosecutors didn't seek felony convictions in this case because they could not prove the child suffered serious physical injury.

Date: 2001-09-11
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Deborah Hage

Location

Colorado Springs, Colorado
United States
See map: Google Maps

18 Children in care of Tom and Debra Schmitz

 

10 children adopted by/in legal custody of and 7 children illegally in the "care" of Tom and Debbie Schmitz were abused by their adopters (they also had 1 bio child). For years the Schmitzes took in disabled and otherwise troubled children in their home and were part of an under-ground network of people taking in children from disrupted adoptions. As adherents of Attachment Therapy, they beat their children, locked them up in cagelike bunk beds, forcing one child to eat his own vomit; holding another child's head underwater as punishment; sitting on a girl and urinating on her; and hurling a wheelchair-bound girl into a swimming pool; placing a hose in a girl's mouth and turning on the water, and lancing a boil on another child with a box cutter as she screamed in pain; forcing children to dig what they were told were their own graves.

Seven children in the "care" of Tom and Debra Schmitz were illegally placed. At least: 2 were from China, 2 from Russia, 1 from Vietnam and 1 from Mexico.

Debra pleaded no contest to 14 counts of child abuse and one count of trafficking. She was sentenced to six months in jail and probation. Tom Schmitz case has been expunged. The Schmitz are now divorced.
Date: 2004-06-30
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Disabilities: yes
Home schooling: yes

Location

Trenton, Tennessee
United States
See map: Google Maps

Lucas Ciambrone (Pedro Garcia)

7-year old boy adopted by Joseph and Heather Ciambrone Lucas was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder by Foster Cline.

In addition to being forced to sleep in a bathroom stripped of towels, soap, toilet paper, and light bulbs;  he was fed through a bucket.  Lucas was thrown to the floor, kicked in the penis, punched, and had his head held under water.  He had been picked up by his ears in such a way, they were nearly pulled from his head.  According to the chief medical examiner,  the degree of injury to the head and nine different breaks or fractures to the ribs were indicative of child abuse, and could not have been caused by an accident, or been self-inflicted.  In addition, when the boy was admitted to the hospital, his body temperature was 84 degrees, suggesting the death blow came at least four hours before Heather and Joe Ciambrone drove him to the hospital.

Autopsy reports indicate at the time of death, the boy weighed only 32 pounds, with a height of only 41 inches.

Joseph Ciambrone - by his own admission - did nothing to keep the child from being kept naked in the bathroom of the family's Rubonia home and did nothing to alleviate the boy's malnutrition.

Date: 1995-05-13
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Home schooling: yes

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Foster Cline

Location

Rubonia, Florida
United States
See map: Google Maps

Krystal Ann Tibbets



Krystal was beaten to death by her adoptive father Donald Lee Tibbets, who was taught to lie across his daughter (who weighed a total of 35 pounds) in what is known in AT circles as “compression therapy,” and punch his fist into her abdomen, which is one technique of “visceral manipulation” (VM), encouraged by attachment therapists. The mother Julia was not charged.
Date: 1995-07-07
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Adoptive father

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Larry VanBloem

Location

Midvale, Utah
United States
See map: Google Maps

Andrea Swenson

Sent by her adoptive mother to the Attachment Center at Evergreen (ACE), Andrea H. Swenson was put through the usual “two-week intensive,” but then diagnosed as so “damaged” that she had to stay on for periodic treatments at ACE, and live with AT-trained therapeutic foster parents (TFPs), at a cost to the family’s insurance company of $3,500 a week. Supposedly, Andrea made slow progress in the arrangement, until the insurance payments ran out. Whereupon, Watkins and the TFPs began pressuring the adoptive family to allow the TFPs to adopt her — and thereby get new insurance coverage. (Connell Watkins was clinical director at ACE)

One day in November 1990, Andrea returned to her foster home from school and reported to the TFPs that she had been sexually molested at school, which they regarded as typical “Attachment Disorder” behavior — false, manipulative, and attention-getting.

The next day, Andrea took an overdose of aspirin. She was in convulsions and delirious the next morning, but the TFPs did not attend her, and instead went bowling that afternoon. While they were gone, a relative visited the house and found Andrea dead in a hallway.

Date: 1990-11-09
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal neglect
Abuser: Other non-family member

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Connell Watkins

Location

Tulsa, Oklahoma
United States
See map: Google Maps

Cassandra Killpack (Autumn Blackwell)

 

Four-year-old Cassandra adopted by Jennette and Richard Killpack died after they forced her to drink a gallon of water, which caused her brain to swell.

The Killpacks maintained it was a form of therapy to help Cassandra with her emotional problems that she had from being abused before they adopted her.

Date: 2002-06-01
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Fundamentalist faith: yes

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Keith A. Reber, Jennie Gwilliam, Larry VanBloem

Location

Springville, Utah
United States
See map: Google Maps

Roberta Evers


Berta, right front on Denis' lap.

6-year-old Roberta "Berta" Evers, sexually abused as a preschooler, adopted by Dennis and Sandy Evers, was restrained in her bed, covered with bruises, when found dead from choking on her own vomit. She was adopted after her 2 bio brothers were adopted by Evers.
Date: 1998-06-13
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal neglect
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother

Location

Bayfield, Colorado
United States
See map: Google Maps

11 Children adopted by Michael and Sharen Gravelle

11 children adopted by Michel and Sharen Gravelle were found to be kept in cages.

Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen.
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf

Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Michael and Sharen Gravelle met in sexual abuse counseling. Sharen was in the program because her previous husband had abused their daughter. Michael was in the program after admitting to a prosecutor that he had sexually molested his 10-year-old daughter over a two-year period. Not only was he never prosecuted for this, he failed to even complete the sex offender treatment program at which he met Sharen. - See more at: http://publicjustice.net/content/fighting-safety-kids-foster-care-system#sthash.nPtFKHzR.dpuf
Date: 2005-09-01
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Disabilities: yes
Home schooling: yes
Fundamentalist faith: yes

Homestudy

Organizations: Adopt America Network
Persons: Corie M Huxford, Collin Myers Ph.D., and Fairhaven Counseling of Cuyahoga Falls

Placement

Organizations: The Cradle , Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Illinois Department of Children's and Family Services, Huron County Department of Job and Family Services, Williams County, Stark County, Cuyahoga County, Chicago CPS, Hamilton County

Post placement

Organizations: Adopt America Network

Location

Clarksfield, Ohio
United States
See map: Google Maps

Candace Newmaker (Candace Tiara Elmore)

Candace Elizabeth Newmaker (19 November 1989 — 18 April 2000) was a victim of child abuse, killed during a 70-minute treatment session supposedly to treat reactive attachment disorder. The form of diagnosis and the treatments used were unvalidated and non-mainstrean methods practised within the field of attachment therapy.

Date: 2000-04-18
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Other non-family member

Attachment Therapy

Persons: Connell Watkins, Julie Ponder

Location

Durham, North Carolina
United States
See map: Google Maps

Pound Pup Legacy