Friday, May 23, 2008

Did Parent Brenda Sullivan Go Too Far In Controlling Her 17 Year Old Teenager? - by Vern edit by Legal Pub


Parents face all types of problems in raising children. Discipline, including the use of "time out," has always been a controversial issue. Some times, parents appear to cross the line. Brenda Sullivan has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty last January to three counts of aggravated child abuse. Prosecutors accused her of keeping her 17 year old child in a cage. Prosecutors dropped a lesser child neglect charge. The 17 year old weighed 49 pounds when child welfare workers found him in 2005. He was in a cage like structure. Sullivan told an Ohio judge that authorities told her to keep the severely emotionally disturbed boy in a crib.
Prosecutor Julie Schlax opined that she was starving the child to death.
Two adopted13-year-old twins apparently testified they too were kept in similar cages. (Sullivan's husband died in January 2007 while awaiting trial.) Brenda Sullivan's lawyer, Charles Fletcher, will apparently appeal the sentence as he feels 20 years in prison is too harsh for someone who does not pose a threat to society. Legal Pub did a similar story back in July of 2007 concerning another couple who were potentially facing charges for keeping kids at night in what was described as cage like restraints. LINK

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is one skinny 17 year old!

Anonymous said...

This is just plain sick.

Jill

Anonymous said...

No one knows all the facts. It might have been the only way the parents could keep him from wandering off or hurting someone at night while they slept. Who knows without hearing all of the facts? Hopefully Her lawyer will post here and give us her side!

Kyle

Anonymous said...

Brenda does not look like a happy camper.

Ms Calabaza said...

20 years is not enough time.

Anonymous said...

But is it sick or criminal, Ms. C?

Anonymous said...

@ Kyle:

No one knows all the facts? I presume that those present in the courtroom at Brenda Sullivan's trial know all the facts. Not to mention the 49 pound 17 year old who was central to this case. Who knows? Perhaps it was a case of her and her husband not knowing how else to contain this child - but reasonably intelligent people do not cage children - they ask for help.

Anonymous said...

"No one knows all the facts. It might have been the only way the parents could keep him from wandering off or hurting someone at night while they slept".
What we do know is that a 17 year old boy weighs 49 lbs. He wears a diaper and he doesnt go to school. I say case closed. My 8 year old - hell my 5 year old weighs almost if not more than 49 lbs. If it is a case of the child having problems as a ward of the state the child was eligible for much more support and care than most families could afford. I can not come up with any excuse or justification for this neglect.

Ms Calabaza said...

anon 12:59

IMHO, it is both sick and criminal. I just can't find any justification for starving a child. I have dogs that weigh more than that.

Anonymous said...

This kid did not just have mental problems, the kid had physical disabilities too.

Anonymous said...

I know that look. I was married once too...

Joel A. Brodsky said...

20 years on a plea? Whoa. Unless the laws in Ohio allow for an early release (ie. day for day good time, or other early release programs) I don't understand that agreement. If that was the best the state had to offer I would just roll the dice and go to trial. The sentence after a guilty verdict by a jury couldnt have been much worse than 20 years. And even if it was, so what, most people don't live out that long a sentence.
I have seen these cases before where low income parents are left with developmentally disabled children. They are virtually abandoned by the state to care for these chidlren by themselves with no (or very little) financal and emotional support. The parents are overwhelmed by the circumstances and don't know how to deal with the situtation. If the state gave them the support they needed, these abusive situations would not occur, (or would only occur with the truely depraved, not the merely overwhelmed and unfortunate) We can spend billions on chasing a few hundred backword tribsmen in Afganistan and shoot at them with million dollar missles from 50 million dollar drones, but we can't give a few thousand dollars to help a family careing for a disabled child get the assistance they need. A good lawyer could put the jury in the shoes of the overwhelmed parents and then who knows what the jury would do.

Secrets said...

This lady is clearly out of her mind. Psycho!! She deserves all of that jail time and some.

Forgive me God, but I cant help but hope that someone in jail gives her some slaps.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joel
B., 20 years seems excessive! The lady needed help not punishment.

Anonymous said...

Joel, you are pretty bright guy for a lawyer!

Viper said...

Lawyers have jobs to do. J.B. is doing his. Good observations J.B.

Did You Stop to Think? said...

Hopefully she will be able to adopt more kids when she gets out, although she will probably need a new cage by then. (Rusty cages are unsafe.)

jill said...

Ian, you are too funny! Love your jokes.

Jill

fact finder said...

In unrelated but similar news:

Erin Markes regained custody of her 4-year-old boy who only weighed 10 lbs. At a hearing, a judge granted the 19-year-old mother's motion for reunification as long has her son remains in Hospice care.

The Department of Children and Families got involved in March when Markes' son was brought to Sacred Heart Hospital. Charges of child neglect were all dropped. Markes and her supporters say the boy suffers from Lissencephaly, a rare and often fatal brain condition that can cause dramatic weight loss. Maybe Brenda Sullivan's child has a similar disease. Don't pile on or jump to conclusions until you know all the facts.


Fact Finder

Anonymous said...

Age old question, how far is too far. This time, this case, the answer is easy. She apparently went way too far...

Anonymous said...

Being an EX OHIO neighbor of Brenda FKA "Brenda Priester" NKA "Brenda Sullivan" I can tell you this woman was a horrible person and mother! I witnessed it with my own eyes..I knew her from the 80's and 90's...neighbors knew Brenda from her birth
This woman had turned her own childhood doll outdoor playhouse into a "cage" "jail like" that she would lock her children in. She would leave scary masks at the doors as her "babysitter" and tell the children the devil and demons would hurt them if they left the room while she would leave the small children home alone and go out. How do I know this you may ask.......her oldest son was my sons best friend and he snuck out and begged me to help his siblings....The police and children services did NOTHING!!! and months later she adopted a set of twins and was in the newspaper for being an outstanding adoptive mother...REALLY???
Shame on Summit county Child Services (Ohio) for not protecting these children, Lord knows all the neighbors called numerous time. But NOTE she adopted from "Stark County Ohio",
We all kept calling and finally when the heat of children services came the family literally disappeared in the night, leaving behind the home Brenda grew up in....In my opinion she is a Sociopath and evil woman who emotionally and physically abused children.....NO sympathy or benefit of the doubt needs to be given to Brenda.
Tyler was a beautiful child, who loved to ride his tricycle, I remember his smile and giggles. This woman hated white people, all her other biological and adopted children were of mixed race, yes they were tortured but none as severally as Tyler was.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight. Apparently she has/had a problem and by pleading guilty perhaps she can be helped. Let's hope the kids can heal as well.