Franklin Park couple accused of abusing adopted children ask for biological children's return

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A Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their two adopted children have again asked a criminal court judge to reunite them with their biological children.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning delayed ruling on the issue for Douglas and Kristen Barbour until Thursday when he will hear from a doctor who has evaluated the situation.

Defense attorneys argued that there is really no question, since a family court judge found after a lengthy hearing that the children should be reunified with their parents.

A condition of their bond, however, is to have only limited contact with the children.

Robert E. Stewart, who represents Kristen Barbour, said the doctor found that the children could be returned to their parents without being endangered.

But Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka responded, "if they fall out of line, then they could be at risk like the other children were."

The Barbours are accused of abusing their two adopted children from Ethiopia last year by withholding food from the boy, then 6, and causing head trauma to the 19-month-old girl.

Ms. Ditka also argued to Judge Manning that the older biological child, a girl who is now 5, may be a witness in the case, and that she could be influenced by her parents if she were returned.

The biological children are in the care of their grandparents and have supervised visits with their parents about twice a week, said Charles Porter, who's representing Douglas Barbour.

"There's not a scintilla of evidence they were ever put in harm's way by their parents," he said.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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