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New charges added against Franklin Park couple accused of abusing two adopted children


By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A preliminary hearing for a Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children was postponed this morning after prosecutors added additional charges against them.

Douglas and Kristen Barbour were already charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children. In addition, they each now face counts of recklessly endangering another person and one more count of aggravated assault.

The couple was accused in September of abusing the two children they adopted from Ethiopia in March.

According to the criminal complaint in the matter, the 6-year-old boy was starving and had lesions on his body from being kept in urine-soaked clothing.

The girl, who was 18 months at the time, suffered abusive head trauma and is blind in one eye and likely will be paralyzed, according to the complaint.

Defense attorneys for the couple said that they were blindsided by the new charges today and had no indication of them after they spoke with prosecutors last week.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka had no comment.

Charles Porter, who represents Douglas Barbour, said it makes no sense that the Barbours abused their adopted children but not two biological children.

"They're very frustrated," he said of the couple.

Both lawyers said their clients dispute the allegations against them, but that they needed time to prepare for the new counts.

According to the criminal complaint, the boy's bedroom was barren of decoration with only a mattress on the floor.

Mr. Porter disputed that contention.

Originally, he said, the boy's bedroom was fully equipped and had the boy's name on the wall.

"Only after he urinated and defecated so frequently, they had to take it out of the room," Mr. Porter said. "You had the older child who had some serious issues. They tried to deal with it as much as they could."

The new date for the hearing is Jan. 18.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.

First Published November 19, 2012 12:29 am

2012 Nov 19