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Isaac's foster mom gets 5 to 15 years in his death.


Isaac's foster mom gets 5 to 15 years in his death.

July 2, 2007

Jack Kresnak

A Detroit judge sentenced Charlsie Adams-Rogers, who was caring for 2-year-old Isaac Lethbridge when he died of a beating last August in her home, to 5 1/2 to 15 years in prison today.

Before the sentence was imposed, Adams-Rogers, 60, apologized but said she did not intend for any foster child to be harmed.

"I'm sorry about what did happen," she said in a barely audible voice. "But I never intended for any of this to ever happen in my home, and I do apologize."

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vera Massey Jones also sentenced Adams-Rogers to time served for her conviction of second-degree child abuse of Isaac. Adams-Rogers has been incarcerated in the Wayne County Jail since moments after her conviction June 18.

Referring to Adams-Rogers' then 12-year-old adopted daughter, who police say they believe harmed Isaac, the judge said today: "Everybody wants to blame everything on her."

But, Jones said, Adams-Rogers "created the conditions" in her home that led to Isaac's death.

"Isaac screamed and he screamed and he screamed, and Mrs. Rogers was there and did absolutely nothing," Jones said.

During the two-week trial, Adams-Rogers -- also known as Charlise Rogers and Paris Rogers -- testified for several hours on her own behalf, but was caught in several misstatements or lies during cross-examination by Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey.

Adams-Rogers said she never considered the 12-year-old dangerous, despite having sought mental health services for the girl because of her violent and aggressive behavior.

She said she checked once on Isaac and the other kids when they were in an upstairs bedroom Aug. 16, shortly before a teenage girl found Isaac unresponsive.

Adams-Rogers also admitted that she had a legal duty to safeguard the foster children in her home. That included Isaac and his 4-year-old sister, who were placed in her care by the Lula Belle Stewart Center, a private foster care agency in Detroit.

The agency was then under contract with the state Department of Human Services to provide foster care for nearly 100 children. The state suspended the center's license to place children in foster care after Isaac's death.

Conditions for other foster children under Lula Belle's supervision also were dangerous, a subsequent DHS investigation found. Several of the children were not living where the agency thought they were, while others were missing or living with unsuitable people.

The state summarily suspended Lula Belle's license to place foster children, an action the agency is fighting through an administrative appeal.

Karl Troy, a former foster care worker at the Lula Belle agency, testified against Adams-Rogers under a grant of immunity from the prosecution.

Troy admitted that he had accepted Adams-Rogers' explanation for bruises on Isaac without checking into it further. The actual value of his testimony appeared to be to show how poorly the Lula Belle agency was supervising its foster children.

Contact JACK KRESNAK at 313-223-4544 or jkresnak@freepress.com.

2007 Jul 2