Ohio children found kept in cages

Sheriff's deputies have removed 11 disabled children from a home in the US where they were made to sleep in cages less than one metre high.

    The children, aged one to 14, were found in an Ohio home

    The children's adoptive and foster parents, Mike and

    Sharen Gravelle, denied that they abused or neglected the

    children during a custody hearing on Monday in Huron County, Ohio.

    No charges had been filed as of Monday night.

    "The impression that we got was that they felt it was

    OK," said Lieutenant Randy Sommers of the sheriff's office in

    Huron County.

    The Gravelles said a psychiatrist recommended they make

    the children sleep in the cages at night, County Prosecutor

    Russell Leffler said.

    The cages were stacked in bedrooms on

    the second floor of their house, he said.

    Conditions

    The children, ages one to 14, were described as having

    conditions that included autism and foetal alcohol syndrome.

    "The impression that we got was that they felt it was

    OK"

    Sheriff's deputy Randy Sommers on the children's adoptive and foster parents, the Gravelles

    They were found by a children's services investigator on

    Friday when he stopped by the Gravelles' home outside

    Wakeman, about 80km west of Cleveland.

    Some of the cages were rigged with alarms, Sommers said;

    others had heavy furniture blocking their doors. The

    children did not have blankets or pillows.

    One of the boys said he had slept in the cage for three

    years, Sommers said.

    A neighbour recently reported

    seeing the children working long hours in the family's

    yard, he added.

    The children were placed with four foster families on Monday.

    Happy and loved

    A woman who identified herself as Sharen Gravelle's mother

    but refused to give her name said the children were happy

    and loved.

    "This year they have played and had fun and

    laughed like no other children have, which they have never

    been able to do"

    Sharen Gravelle's mother

    "This year they have played and had fun and

    laughed like no other children have, which they have never

    been able to do," she said.

    Sommers said there were no apparent signs the children had

    been malnourished or beaten, but they were sent to a

    hospital for examination.

    Their conditions were not

    available on Monday.

    In March, a couple who had recently moved from Ohio to

    Florida was charged with neglect when their adopted

    teenager was discovered malnourished in a crib-like cage.

    The then-17-year-old weighed 22kg,

    investigators said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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