exposing the dark side of adoption
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News briefs from California's Central Coast


The Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA – Child abuse defendant Sylvia Jovanna Vasquez pleaded not guilty to a variety of counts involving her four adopted children at the Foothill area home where she operated a day care center.

Vasquez, who is free on $1 million bail, was charged with abusing the children – ages 6, 9, 12 and 13 – at various times over a three-year period ending in January. The youngsters are now in the care of the Child Welfare Services Agency.

Two of the adopted children were locked up in small, cagelike quarters and a third was confined in a filthy room, Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.

Vasquez, 50, is also accused of injecting the 12-year-old with a puberty-blocking drug, Lupron. During a Jan. 25 search of the woman's home, detectives also discovered a digital camera with “lewd” photographs of the girl, investigators said.

Defense lawyer Robert Sanger said after Friday's arraignment that his client never mistreated any of the children.

2006 Jun 12