Adoptive father to Vietnamese son found guilty in child abuse trial
OCTOBER 19, 2023
Timothy Ferriter, the adoptive father to a Vietnamese son, was found guilty on all counts in an aggravated child abuse trial.
Ferriter, who is from Jupiter, Florida, was convicted of aggravated child abuse, child neglect and false imprisonment on October 11, WPTV reports.
Police arrested Timothy Ferriter and his wife Tracy Ferriter in February 2022. Tracy will face a separate trial.
In January 2022, the Ferriters’ 14-year-old son ran away from home and was found a few days later near Independence Middle School. When investigators searched the family home, they found a structure in the garage that could only be opened from the outside, The Palm Beach Post reports. A doorbell camera was mounted to the ceiling inside.
According to WPBF, footage from the doorbell camera showed that the child had been locked in the structure for 10 to 15 hours a day with just a bucket for a bathroom. During his testimony, the child said being locked in the structure felt “dehumanizing,” WPTV reports.
The 14-year-old was one of four children. The jury also heard testimony from his adoptive sister who said she noticed her brother was punished differently from the other children. She added that she rarely saw her brother at meal times.
Defense attorneys for Ferriter argued that the couple made mistakes but did nothing criminal. They tried to garner sympathy for the couple by claiming that their adoptive son had behavioral issues like ADHD, The Palm Beach Post reports. He also allegedly had a condition called reactive attachment disorder.
Ferriter’s attorneys called the rulings unfair.
“We’re devastated at what happened — this is a man with a wife and a family and no criminal record and he’s lost his children and we really believe some of the rulings were unfair to the defense,” said Prya Murad, according to WPBF.
The prosecution rejected the idea that the Ferriters were a normal, happy family.
“This treatment, this systemic way in which (the teen) was forced to live, is a crime,” Assistant State Attorney Brianna Coakley said in her closing statements, The Palm Beach Post reports. “It’s not every moment of the day. There were lots of times when they looked like a normal family. It’s what happened behind closed doors is why we are here.”