Pa. deputy attorney general, wife charged with child endangerment, assault against kids
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A state deputy attorney general and his wife have been charged with child endangerment and assault against two children they adopted from Ethiopia earlier this year.
Douglas B. Barbour 33, and Kristen B. Barbour, 30, of Franklin Park were charged Thursday with two counts of child endangerment against their 6-year-old son and 18-month-daughter. Each also received an aggravated assault charge against their daughter. Mr. Barbour was charged with simple assault against his son.
"The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is in the process of reviewing the criminal complaint and will closely monitor the charges as they progress through the criminal justice system," according to a statement from Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly
"Mr. Barbour faces a felony offense. Under OAG policy, he will be suspended without pay pending the resolution of the charges. At this time, our thoughts are with the children and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully with this investigation."
Allegheny County police are leading the investigation.
The Barbours' daughter is the victim of physical child abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to Dr. Rachel Berger of Children's Hospital of UPMC of Pittsburgh, whose examinations of the children was referenced in the criminal complaint.
Ms. Barbour told hospital personnel last month that their daughter has a history of banging her head, but the extent of her injuries and the fact that she had no underlying medical problem does not support that, Dr. Berger said in the complaint.
The Barbours' 6-year-old son is "the victim of significant neglect and possible emotional abuse over a prolonged period of time," Dr. Berger said in the complaint.
Doctors who evaluated the boy determined his skin lesions were likely the result of ongoing contact to urine. He was experiencing weight loss at home but ate voraciously and gained weight -- without medical treatment -- when fed at the hospital, according to hospital personnel cited in the complaint.
The boy told a doctor that when he soiled his pants, his parents would make him stand or eat dinner in the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities noted his room contained no furnishings, decorations or window treatments: only a mattress on the floor with sheets.
Dr. Berger recommended the children be removed from the home and cease contact with their parents. She told authorities the Barbours' daughter is likely to be reinjured or killed if she returns.
"I have been part of the Children Protection Team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact," she said in the complaint.
First Published October 4, 2012 8:25 pm