Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Child Abusers Convicted

On Friday, a jury convicted Michael and Sharen Gravelle of four felony counts of child endangering, two misdemeanor counts of child endangering, and five misdemeanor counts of child abuse. (Unfortunately, the jury acquitted them on several other counts.) The charges were filed after authorities learned that the Gravelles had forced some of their 11 adopted special-needs children to sleep in chicken wire cages. Witnesses testified that the cages were filthy and lacked bedding. The Gravelles lost custody of the children in March.

According to a
news article about the trial, the Gravelles tried to claim that the cages had useful behavioral purposes:

During the trial, their defense included testimony from a social worker and others who said they never witnessed abuse and said the children's behavior improved because of the cages, which were painted bright blues and reds.

I'm reminded of the
Judge Rotenberg Center, with its brightly painted rooms designed to distract visitors' attention from the electric shock devices and other tortures inflicted on its students. But unlike the JRC's child abusers (who are still in business), the Gravelles soon will be going to prison where they belong.

When the Gravelles are sentenced, they will get 1 to 5 years in prison for the felony counts. I have a suggestion for the prison officials: How about painting their cells in bright blues and reds, giving them no bedding, and observing their behavior to see if it improves?



  • Re: Prison cells painted red and blue. Excellent suggestion. Maybe they could sleep in a bathtub for a year or so. Maybe a fellow prisoner could dunk their heads in a toilet? No, that would be cruel and unusual wouldn't it...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 PM  

  • Actually, I wouldn't be at all surprised if other prisoners dunked their heads in the toilets a few times. Most prisoners hate child abusers and take every opportunity to give them what they deserve. And it's not cruel and unusual punishment if the guards just happen to be looking the other way and don't notice anything...

    By Blogger abfh, at 6:21 PM  

  • I wonder if any of the other charges included "defrauding the state" for the benefit payments they received. They sure weren't spending it on the kids, I'd bet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:44 PM  

  • Too bad they can't be locked in caged beds. grrr.

    By Blogger Attila the Mom, at 12:24 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:25 AM  

  • It would be kind of funny if when their parole hearing came up the board said, "Well we thought about letting you out into the community, but decided on a better and more desireable rehabilitation technique instead." Then when they got back to their cells, it was painted in lovely bright colors to improve their behavior, because that's clearly preferable to being let out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 PM  

  • To anybody with information about Mershona Parshall, I'd like to talk to you. I'm a reporter in Cleveland and I'm looking into her use of attachment therapy. Please email jared.klaus@clevescene.com or call 216-802-7272


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 AM  

  • I am the attorney for Elaine Thompson. The original "reporter" of this blog does not know what he/she is talking about! For starters: Mershona Parshall was not a therapist for the Gravelle children and she has never been charged with any crime. Reminder: "Libel" is a tort for which the person(s) creating the libel may (and will be) sued.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:59 PM  

  • As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Feb. 21, 2007:

    Norwalk, Ohio - A social worker who was aware that a family was forcing some of their 11 special-needs adoptive children to sleep in cages pleaded guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor counts of failing to report a crime.

    Elaine Thompson, 64, of Elyria, a private social worker first contacted by Sharen and Michael Gravelle in 2000, could face up to three months in jail on each count at her sentencing April 10.

    Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said 16 felony counts of aiding child abuse and 13 misdemeanor counts of complicity to child abuse and failure to report child abuse would be dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

    It looks like you did a very effective job of representing your client, "Anonymous," bargaining her down to just a few months in jail. No doubt you know your way around the legal system.

    But here's a little reminder for you: Hassling disability rights bloggers is not the way to get public sympathy for your client (although I expect that's a lost cause anyway).

    No more threats on my blog. Got it? Good.

    By Blogger abfh, at 11:35 AM  

  • I would like to retract my statement from above. I did more research and have discovered that Parshall was not was not charged and the info about her treating the Gravelles is not clear. (You cannot use the interet as a reliable information source.) However she was Thompson's partner and I still think that there should be a better and less expensive treatment method for troublesome adoptive kids. Medicaid in Ohio is going bust. We need to find less expensive treatment methods

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 AM  

    I am writing in response to false and inflammatory statements made about me on the internet. All statements made about me regarding any connection to the most unfortunate Gravelle (“The Caged Kids”) criminal case are false and subject to libel laws. Another social worker was investigated, charged and convicted. Contrary to what has been stated about me on the internet, I was not part of the criminal case, and I was not charged. Again, I had NO connection to the Gravelle court case, thus, those individuals who have made such false and malicious statements about me are committing libel.
    Second, all allegations made against me by individuals suggesting that I engaged in fraudulent insurance billing, over billing, incorrect billing, having no 1099’s, are also false and also subject to libel laws. Moreover, internet users who have made statements about my character, professional practice and integrity are also acting maliciously, spreading false information, and engaging in defamatory conduct.
    I did not want to enter into this arena but it is my intention to take legal action against those individuals who have defamed me. Those persons who have made these defamatory statements against me could have easily verified that I was not a part of the Gravelle criminal case.
    a) That each moderator remove every false reference about me from this site.
    b) That each person/blogger who has posted information about me do some simple checking, verify that the information is false, post on this and any other web site where they have written about me, a specific retraction and an apology.
    c) That the moderators of this web site contact me with the true identity of those bloggers on this web site who have defamed me.
    It has been my extreme privilege to work with remarkable children and families over many years. As a social worker, artist, art therapist, and advocate for a healthier environment, my focus will continue to be for growth and healing.
    Mershona Parshall, LISW, ATR-BC

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 AM  

  • Mershona Parshall: Relax, take a deep breath, and chill out. The anonymous person who made the incorrect comment about you retracted it long ago.

    Here's a bit of helpful advice to avoid such unpleasantness in the future: Yes, it's important to do a good job of fact checking, especially when it comes to the conduct of people with whom you choose to associate professionally.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:47 AM  

  • Don't worry she is personally writing me via email with threats too. I have never written about her either. A comment of a comment from another person who left it on my blog. She is threatening anyone who has come close to writing about her from what I hear.

    By Blogger Amyadoptee, at 5:28 PM  

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