Have you been wondering? I have, too.
As of November 14th, 2006, jury selection has begun in the case of an Ohio couple who were the adoptive parents of 11 special needs children ranging in age from 14 to 1. (See my previous blog on this story by clicking here.) The couple were discovered by authorities to be keeping their children in cages at night. This is a story which has been aired and discussed on television news programs all over the country. So far, at least 250 jurors have been eliminated due to biases or other concerns.
A judge determined that Michael and Sharon Gravelle will be charged with 16 counts of felony child endangerment. They face a fine of up to $10,000, and one to five years in prison on EACH count. (You do the math.) The couple lost custody of the children last March and they haven’t seen their kids since.
I’ve tried to search for any further information on the condition and well-being of the children, but not much information is out there, except that they are in “foster care” at undisclosed locations. Certainly if they are sleeping in warm beds and allowed reasonable freedoms, they are better off than they were.
One of the heated aspects of this case is that the majority of the children were African-American, and the Gravelles are Caucasian. Thus, whether or not race had any bearing on the couple’s actions, you have a pretty ugly scenario of a “white” couple owning “black” children and restricting their freedoms. According to my research, the NAACP has been involved in investigating this matter, and some have called it a civil rights case. These children had disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, pica (a condition where a person eats things such as dirt, batteries, etc.) HIV, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Attorneys representing the Gravelles insist that there is no case, and that the couple will be exonerated. They insist that these were “enclosures” and not “cages,” and were used to protect the children from wandering at night and harming themselves and each other.
I will be following the details as they unfold.
How ironic it is that if the Gravelles are convicted of any of the charges, they will be… ahem…locked up…
Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.