Couple Who Caged Their Special Needs Children Get Two Years in Prison

Finally, we have a wrap-up (at least temporarily) in this very sad and bizarre case. Sentencing was handed down today for two Ohio adoptive parents who were discovered to be keeping many of their 11 special needs children in cages at night. Michael and Sharon Gravelle were each given two years in prison for child endangerment. Sharon Gravelle gave a 26-minute statement to the court, where she explained that social services had failed her and her husband. She said they did not offer any help to the couple, despite the very difficult behaviors that the children had. Gravelle described how … Continue reading

Should a Severely Disabled Girl Be Allowed to Grow Up?

It’s a question I would never have considered possible. But today I read an article that was both fascinating and troubling. PEOPLE magazine reported the heart-wrenching story of a nine-year-old girl with severe disabilities, and her parent’s controversial decision to use hormones to halt her growth and physical maturation. (PEOPLE, “Girl, Interrupted,” January 22, 2007, by Macon Morehouse.) Ashley, from Seattle, has static encephalopathy, a condition of the brain which has left her developmentally like an infant. She is unable to walk, speak, and is typically seen propped with pillows, because she dislikes being strapped to her wheelchair in an … Continue reading

The Child Protection System is in Trouble

We can read about child abuse cases almost every day in the newspaper. The cases that are publicized are just the tip of the iceberg. I will give two examples that I know about that will not get any publicity. We are friends with a state social worker. She had the responsibility for two children placed in the same foster home. She kept noticing that the baby was very thin. The family would always have a lot of clothes on the child which made the worker more suspicious. She took the child out of the home and had him examined … Continue reading

What Happened to Those Children Kept in Cages?

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 … Continue reading

Adoptive Couple Kept their Special Needs Children in Cages

I was recently reading a story in the CBS News Archives about an Ohio couple who were the adoptive parents of eleven special needs children ranging in age from 14 to 1. Some of the disabilities of the children included autism and fetal alcohol syndrome. Apparently, this couple had been keeping the children in cages at night. The cages were reported to be homemade, constructed of wood and chicken wire, and were approximately three feet by six feet wide… but the exact dimensions are in dispute. There was no bedding in the cages, and some had locks or were blocked … Continue reading