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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/12/2005 8:23:31 PM EDT


Police find 8 Ohio kids locked in cages

(CNN) -- Police in northern Ohio on Monday rescued eight children whose parents told authorities they kept the kids in locked cages for their own protection.

The children, ages 1 to 14, were found locked in cages at their home in Wakeman, about 40 miles southwest of Cleveland, according to Lt. Randy Sommers of the Huron County Sheriff's Office.

The children were all either adopted or foster children, he said.

Authorities said the kids were kept in wooden cages, less than 3 feet by 3 feet, without pillows or blankets.

Shortly after being found, the children were sent to Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, where they were listed in good condition.

The children's parents, Mike and Sharon Gravelle, had 11 children in all, according to authorities.

Police said no charges had been filed against the parents.

"Basically, the parents thought they were providing for the protection of the children from themselves and from each other," said Sommers.

"They thought there was circumstances with these children that warranted the cages at night," Sommers added, but he would not go into details of what those circumstances were.

All 11 of the children found in the home have been placed in the custody of the Huron County Department of Children and Families.

Link Posted: 9/12/2005 8:29:04 PM EDT

"Basically, the parents thought they were providing for the protection of the children from themselves and from each other,"

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:22:19 AM EDT
There has to be some reason that charges haven't been filed on these people.

"Adopted and foster children", Maybe emotionally disturbed children, prone to violence? Being kept in a cage might prevent a dangerous situation, but I don't think being caged is good for them either.

This happened in my county, in the town where I was a Police officer 30 years ago. I don't remember any people of that name from then, but it's been a long time.

I know Lt Sommers personally and he would be camped at the door of the Judges office with a stack of charges 5 feet high on a normal (!) case like this.

Beats me what could prevent/delay charges being filed. Randy doesn't discuss cases involving children except with others who are involved in the case, so I can't call him up and just ask.

I do note that charges aren't filed YET. And the kids are in protective custody. Just have to wait and see, I guess.

Don in Ohio

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:36:16 AM EDT
Of all the people in the world that I hate -- career foster parents are in the top 10. These are loser people who take in as many kids as they can to live off the money provided by the state for their care.

You'd think that there would be some sort of foster kid limit.

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:40:13 AM EDT
Just because charges haven't been filed yet doesn't mean they won't file them. Sometimes it takes a little time to gather evidence and consult with lawyers to decide exactly what to charge them with.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:41:44 AM EDT
we've got neighbors (distant, thank the Lord) that take in foster kids. I've seen a couple of them that legitimately needed to be in cages to protect the other kids from them.

near total destruction. the sad thing is that these people are really pretty nice folks and I think are legitimately trying to help out but a couple of the kids have almost destroyed their house and their family.

so I'll hold judgement but it seems a little fishy
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:48:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:04:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 9:07:17 AM EDT by jchewie]
This isn't the only place it happened either. My mother in law is a special education teacher - she deals with 5-14 year olds that have 1-2 year old mental capacities, some of them have physical disabilities, and a whole lot of them are emotionally messed up.

Her latest kid is a 6 year old who was rescued from a crack house. He was adopted as a special needs kid. The adopted mother keeps him in a playpen with a plywood top on it. That is a CAGE

Even worse, is that the practice of keeping him in a cage is DOCUMENTED in his social worker's notes!

This boy is supposedly self destructive. HOWEVER, when he was beating his head with his fist, my mother in law put him in timeout for a few minutes, then asked if he was ready to behave. The boy thought about it, then took her by the hand, and they spent the rest of their time together.

And the adopted mother gets PAID by the state to keep her kid in a cage WITH THE STATE'S CONSENT.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:06:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 2:08:55 PM EDT
SICK BASTARDS! There's a shank waiting for them in prison.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:45:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BenDover:
Of all the people in the world that I hate -- career foster parents are in the top 10. These are loser people who take in as many kids as they can to live off the money provided by the state for their care.

You'd think that there would be some sort of foster kid limit.

Not everyone is like that. One of my managers has adopted 24 special needs kids and they do all they can to make great lives for their kids.
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8718241/ -> Scroll down to Friday and watch the video.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 8:52:06 PM EDT
Nuts. I've always light heartedly joked my kids would mind better if I was allowed to crate train and use an electronic collar now and then [like I do with my dogs] but I never thought anyone would take that seriously. Patty
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:01:59 PM EDT
ther is more to this story than CNN is reporting. (go figure).

i have yet to pass judgment on this because i don't know the facts. it seems they took really good care of the kids, just used the cages to protect them at night.

here's the story from the AP:

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press Writer

WAKEMAN, Ohio - The 11 children removed from a house where authorities say some of them slept in homemade cages are polite, well-behaved, well-dressed and appear to have been well-fed, neighbors and authorities said Tuesday.

Their adoptive parents, Michael Gravelle, 56, and Sharen Gravelle, 57, denied in a custody hearing Monday that they abused or neglected the children, who are ages 1-14 and have conditions that included autism and fetal alcohol syndrome.

No charges had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon, and messages left with the couple's lawyer were not immediately returned.

The Gravelles have said a psychiatrist recommended they make the children sleep in the cages, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler told the Norwalk Reflector. The parents said the children, including some who had mental disorders, needed to be protected from each other, according to a search warrant on file at Norwalk Municipal Court.

Leffler refused to speak with an Associated Press reporter Tuesday at his office.

Dr. Gregory Keck, founder of an Ohio organization that works with adoptive parents of special needs children, said county officials contacted him in late August, asking whether the arrangement at the Gravelles could be considered appropriate.

"I said, 'No, I couldn't imagine any situation in which children should be kept in cages,'" said Keck, director of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, who has not worked with the Gravelles.

Neighbors said they often saw or heard the children playing, and the family yard was littered with toys — plastic cars, tricycles, slides and an overturned skateboard near a wooden ramp. Seven bicycles were piled in a storage shed.

"Those kids were dressed better than some of the kids who live in Cleveland. They behaved like any other kids when they were outside playing," said Jim Power, who lives across the street.

At night, authorities say, eight of the children were confined in 3 1/2-foot-tall wooden cages stacked in bedrooms on the second floor. The cages were painted in bright, primary colors, with some rigged with alarms that would send a signal to the downstairs when a cage door was opened. One cage had a dresser in front of it, county sheriff's Lt. Randy Sommers said Tuesday.

"The sheriff and I stood there for a few minutes and just kind of stared at what we were seeing. We were speechless," Sommers said.

No one answered the Gravelles' door Tuesday, and the gray, four-bedroom house was dark. A pig, roosters and other animals shared the yard outside Wakeman, a city of about 1,000 people 50 miles west of Cleveland.

The children have been placed with four foster families and were doing well, said Erich Dumbeck, director of the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services.

"We're still trying to figure out what happened in that home. We don't have any indication at this point that there was any abuse," Dumbeck said.

Sommers said a social worker investigating a complaint contacted authorities. Dumbeck would not discuss the complaint.

According to the search warrant, the cages had mats and the house smelled of urine. One boy said he slept in a cage for three years, Sommers said. A baby slept in a small bed, and two girls used mattresses

Deputies said they were called to the home last year when a 12-year-old boy was upset and ran away for several hours. He was found not far away.

Although the family has lived in Huron County for 10 years, the children were adopted through other counties and states, Dumbeck said. He said his agency was trying to determine how the adoptions were completed.

"I don't believe there were any caseworkers checking in with this family," he said. Reviews are ordered only when there is a complaint.

One of the children, a boy born with HIV, was adopted as an infant in 2001 through the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, the agency's director Jim McCafferty said. For caring for him, the Gravelles received a subsidy of at least $500 a month.

The private agencies who reviewed the couple's home life before the adoption gave them "glowing reports," McCafferty said.

Leah Hunter, who lives two houses away, said she often saw the children walking down the road.

"They looked OK. They hardly ever wore shoes but I'm a country girl and for me that's normal," she said.


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