Deputy Attorney General, Wife Arraigned in Franklin Park Child Abuse Case
Douglas and Kristen Barbour face a preliminary hearing Tuesday. Police have charged them with assaulting two Ethiopian-born chlldren they adopted in March,
UPDATE: A Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General and his wife have been arraigned on charges that they assaulted and abused two adopted children in their care.
Douglas Barbour, 33, and his wife, Kristen Barbour, 30, of Cole Road, Wexford, posted 10 percent of $25,000 percentage bonds after their arraignments Friday morning. Barbour has been suspended from his state job without pay, Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement.
Allegheny County and Franklin Park Police on Thursday charged the couple with two counts each of endangering the welfare of children and one count each of aggravated assault. Douglas Barbour is also charged with simple assault, court documents show.
The couple adopted the children from Ethiopia in March, according to a criminal complaint filed by county police. An investigation began Sept. 29 after the children—a 1-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy—were treated at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, authorities said.
The boy was admitted to the Oakland hospital Sept. 14 after Douglas Barbour initially took him to a Children's Hospital Express Care clinic in Wexford for treatment of a urinary tract infection, according to the complaint.
At the clinic, the boy's body temperature was recorded as 93.6 degrees, prompting concerns about hypothermia, police said. According to the complaint. Douglas Barbour asked clinic workers, "Would that be from being in the bathroom, cold, wet and naked for an hour?"
A doctor at Express Care advised Barbour to take the boy immediately to Children's Hospital, where he was admitted. At that time, his weight was recorded as about 37 pounds, according to the complaint. The boy's weight had been recorded as 46 pounds, 8 ounces when he entered the United States in March.
In the complaint, investigators said they determined that the boy's weight had dropped since then. In May, the Barbours told Dr. Sarah Springer, a pediatrian who specializes in adoption-related health concerns, that they limited the boy's access to food because he would "eat until he throws up," according to the complaint.
Officials at a school the boy attended also were instructed not to give him food, police said in the complaint. Springer advised the Barbours to permit the boy to have unfettered access to food to assure him it would always be available to him.
Within five days of his admission to Children's on Sept. 14, the boy gained 7 pounds without specific treatment other than being permitted to eat, police said. Investigators also noted that the boy suffered from skin lesions that doctors determined were caused by ongoing contact with urine.
At the same time the boy was being treated at Children's on Sept. 14, Kristen Barbour called 911 from the couple's home and asked for an ambulance, saying the girl's eyes had rolled back in her head and that she was shaking and having difficulty breathing, police said in the complaint. An ambulance took the girl to Children's, where Kristin Barbour told workers that the girl had a history of banging her head, according to the complaint.
The girl had not been ill recently, and police said they found no record of medical problems or emergency-room treatment involving her. Dr. Rachel Berger determined at Children's that the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.
The doctor recommended that the girl not be returned to the Barbours' home, and that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours, police said in the complaint.
"I have been part of the (hospital) child protection team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact," the doctor wrote in a report cited by police.
Investigators interviewed the boy Tuesday and said he told them that he'd been required to eat meals in the bathroom when he was "bad" and to stand in the bathroom in the dark.
Police also noted in the complaint that the boy's room contained only a mattress with sheets on the floor, while the rooms of other children in the homes were furnished, decorated and equipped with window treatments.
Douglas Barbour will remain suspended until his case is resolved, Attorney General Linda Kelly said.
"Deputy Attorney General Douglas Barbour has been charged with a serious crime. The Office of the Attorney General is in the process of reviewing the criminal complaint and will closely monitor the charges as they progress through the criminal justice system," Kelly said in her statement.
"At this time, our thoughts are with the children and the Office of the Attorney General will cooperate fully with the investigation."
The Barbours are scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in Leetsdale District Court. Check back with Patch for more details.
See More on Patch
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