Hearing Postponed Again for Franklin Park Couple Accused of Abusing Adopted Children

Douglas and Kristen Barbour, through their attorney, have repeatedly denied the charges filed by Allegheny County Police.

The preliminary hearing for a Franklin Park couple accused of physically abusing and starving two children they adopted from Ethiopia in March has been postponed again.


Douglas Barbour, a Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, is also charged with simple assault, court documents show.  

Barbour has been suspended from his state job without pay, Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement after the couple's arrest Oct. 4.

The couple was to have appeared Tuesday before Leetsdale District Court Judge Robert Ford, but that hearing has been postponed. It is the second time the hearing has been postponed. Patch will report on when a new hearing date is set.

The couple, who are free on bond, was last in court Oct. 15, when Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled that the Barbours would be permitted supervised visitation with their two biological children, ages 2 and 4, pending approval of the judge who is presiding over the matter in Family Court, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

According to the criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted 6-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time.

The 18-month-old adopted girl will likely be blinded in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, the criminal complaint stated.

Dr. Rachel Berger determined at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC that the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, according to the complaint.

The doctor recommended that the girl not be returned to the Barbours' home, and that the boy be permitted no contact with the Barbours, police said in the complaint.

"I have been part of the (hospital) child protection team for almost 14 years and cannot remember the last time I recommended no contact," the doctor wrote in a report cited by police.

The Barbour's attorney, Christopher Capozzi, told the Post-Gazette his clients "vehemently deny these charges.

Gail Canizares October 23, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Any family without connections would have been treated carefully. However, this couple are "innocent until proven guilty." Their children need their parents, though supervision is warranted. Let's keep in mind that what we read in the newspaper is not always the the whole story. The police, the newspaper and the doctor look for us to be outraged. Let us ask them to continue their investigation until all avenues have been explored. Then we can applaud the parents innocence or recommend their punishment.
erin harte October 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
My sympathies are more with the innocent young children than with the parents who have all the power in that relationship. The doctor has a moral, legal and professional obligation to report this type of abuse and gains nothing by looking " for us to be outraged". It's hard to imagine how a starved child with lesions from urine soaked clothing could not be considered abused by those he depends upon utterly.
amos November 19, 2012 at 06:31 PM
another point is, how do you explain those injuries? how do you explain a starving child?
James Dale Barrington November 19, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I agree with all the feelings stated above, but Gail is right. Until we know more about the whole case can we begin to understand the trauma, guilt and punishment that is appropriate. Still, the injuries on both of the children are there. -- If I am reading this right the two children were adopted in March of this year, which tells me that the stress for both the parents and the children involved acclimating into a new culture, of sorts. The social interactions as a family and society would have physical and emotional upheaval enough to cause the children to respond through being anxious and incontinent, and even being fretful and hysterical, and no one plans for that. -- It's a story that I hope has a better ending.


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