exposing the dark side of adoption
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Mother surrenders on neglect charges


Angie Moreschi/Eyewitness News

Bloomington, Feb. 3 - The mother of more than a dozen children in Bloomington, several adopted, turned herself in to police Tuesday. Fifty-three-year-old Diana Groves was released on $50,000 bond. She was booked on three charges of neglect and one of being a habitual criminal because she has a history of more than two felonies, including theft and fraud.

As the Eyewitness News Investigators first reported Monday night, Groves - who promotes herself as a rescuer of unwanted children - is now accused of cruel and unusual punishment on some of them.

Her attorney told Eyewitness News, "The legal process has started and we'll see what happens next."

Groves is known in Bloomington for taking in and adopting unwanted children.

Child Protective Services removed a total of 13 children from her home in November after a babysitter reported Groves used cruel and unusual punishment on a developmentally disabled little boy in her home.

"Restrained him by duct taping is arms to his body and his feet together and placed him in a bathtub." Detective Brad Swain says interviews with other children revealed at least two others were also restrained, "Duct taping their hands and restraining to walls in the residence."

He says children also report being whipped with a tennis racket and paddle and that an eight-year old girl was put in a clothes drier and spun around. "The child who was in the drier states she was placed in there for misbehaving and (the) drier was activated for several minutes while she was inside."

Many of the children in Groves' home were special needs children from other states, even foreign countries like Russia and Ethiopia. Some came from disrupted adoptions, where the family that originally adopted them decided it wasn't working out.

The owner of The Adoption Support Center in Indianapolis, Julie Craft, says Groves contacted her agency several times trying to adopt a child, but she chose not to work with her and finds it troubling that other agencies did. "That's the stuff that I mean. That's why we're here, not to have those things happen. They need special care, not to be put in someplace unsafe."

Just how many children Groves adopted and whether those adoptions were legal is still under investigation. Detectives are also looking at where she got her money to take care of so many kids, because she had no known income.

All 13 children are now in foster care in Monroe County, and the detective says they are doing well.

2004 Feb 3