Judge: Couple cannot visit adopted children after abuse charges

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A deputy attorney general and his wife charged with abusing their two adopted children will be permitted supervised visitation with their two biological children.

Douglas and Kristen Barbour of Franklin Park were in court this morning to ask not only for the visitation but also to have the couple's bond reduced.

It was originally set at $25,000 with 10 percent posted -- which was paid by Mr. Barbour's father. Defense attorney Christopher Capozzi asked Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning to reduce that bond and release them on their own recognizance to allow Mr. Barbour's father to have his money returned.

The judge denied that request.

The Barbours are accused of physically abusing and starving two children they adopted from Ethiopia in March. The boy is 6 years old. The girl is 18 months.

The couple also has two biological children, aged 2 and 4.

There have been no allegations of abuse against those two children.

Mr. Capozzi said his clients are not a threat to the children.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka objected to visitation specifically for the two adopted children, as well as the 4-year-old, saying that child may be a witness in the case.

"The 6-year-old is openly fearful of these people," she said. "The 1-year-old can't speak as a result of these actions."

The girl is likely to be blind in one eye and paralyzed because of a stroke she suffered, Ms. Ditka said. She suffered head trauma, according to a doctor who treated her at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Judge Manning said that the parents will be permitted visitation with the biological children, but that it must be approved by the judge who is presiding over the matter in family court.

In addition, the prosecution is to be given reports from the visits to ensure nothing improper is being discussed.

The Barbours are charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.

"They vehemently deny these charges," Mr. Capozzi. breaking - neigh_north

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


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