Thursday, July 12, 2007

Child Abuse, Child Sleep Protection, or A Unique Form of Time Out?


A couple in Norwalk, Ohio had a unique way of caring for their children: they apparently put them in a bed at night which resembled a cage. As a result, Michael and Sharen Gravelle are looking at a two-year prison sentence. The Gravels allegedly forced some of their 11 adopted special-needs children to sleep in "cages." Yet the couple hope to get the children back. The Gravelles were sentenced in February on four felony child endangering charges and seven misdemeanors. The couple are free on bond pending appeal.


The children ranged in age from 1 to 14. The children suffered from numerous problems including fetal alcohol syndrome. The children lived in the Gravelles home in Wakeman, about 60 miles west of Cleveland. Three weeks ago, the Ohio Supreme Court refused an appeal of the custody case that put the children into foster care. Michael Gravelle has contended that he and his wife made enclosed beds for the safety of the troubled children. The prosecution presented evidence that the Gravelles sometimes put the childern in small wood-and-wire enclosures for punishment. The Gravelles have denied this allegation.The couple faces a two-year prison sentence. In the meantime, the new part of this story is that the Gravelles continue to want the children back. Right or wrong, it is not likely to happen.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whether it was a bed or a cage, a jury has spoken. Appeal on custody denied. My thinking is you can not take the chance of bringing the kids back into such a household.

Brenda

Ms. Calabaza said...

I can't believe the foster care social workers did not know about this? They are supposed to provide random checks and review all areas of the home (including where the children sleep). I found this story disturbing and even if their intentions were not malevolent, if anything this is clearly a fire hazard. Time for these kids to be placed in another home, me thinks . . .

BTW,
Legal Pub,

thanks for the nice comments on my blog while the site was down. It was really appreciated.

Ron said...

11 special needs kids is probably not realistic to start with, so I'm kind of surprised they were allowed so many, and can't imagine trying to care for them myself. Not that I am making an excuse for the cages, but it sounds like a predictable train wreck.

blond bombshell said...

While I think the use of cages may be appropriate (ie to corral men when they are acting up.) I do not think it is appropriate for kids to sleep in a fire trap.

Hate to say I see things similar to Ron, but the fire trap issue is unavailable (except as it deals with grown men, whom assume the risk by being lunatics.)Just kidding, clad the men in the cages with asbestos body suits...

Anonymous said...

What were these folks thinking?

colleency said...

When you resort to caging children to keep them contained or keep them safe, it's time to admit that you've totally lost control. Compassion may have motivated them to provide a home for so many forgotten children, but they were in WAY over their heads.

I wonder if they kept the kids because they figured that even less-than-optimum-conditions at their home were preferable to the alternatives; or, do they have the same mental illness that compels some people to 'rescue' hundreds of cats?

Legal Pub said...

Colleency, excellent question and observation. There is a disorder that causes some people the need to rescue people and animals. It is an obsessive compulsive disorder, as I understand it. I do not know if that applies to these folks or not. They may truely have a genuine compassion for the children. They may also have been receiving finacial assistance from the government for each child.

In any event, no matter what the reason, it does appear that this couple had more than a handful caring for all of these children.

Let's keep an eye on this story for a while...

Anonymous said...

Some think there is nothing wrong with securing children in their rooms or beds at night.

Anonymous said...

It poses a good question as to what is abuse...

Anonymous said...

One person's abuse is another's discipline or way of protecting a child.

Anonymous said...

eh howcome the social workers didnt say anything? guilty or not, i think it was pleasure for the couple.. in a mad crazed way. the were very mean to do that to them kids. hopefully the wnt b allowed to b near ANY kid never mind them.