Aug 30, 2013

Shoddy Texas Foster Care Investigation

This video and the accompanying news story can be found at

I have several other posts that also address
the tragic death of foster child Alexandria Hill.

Aug 28, 2013

11-month-old dies at Kansas daycare

According to Macradee Aegerter and Katie Ferrell (in 11-month-old boy dies at Kansas City, Kan., daycare), an 11-month-old boy was found unresponsive at Advantage Child Care Center a Kansas City daycare on Tuesday and was later pronounced dead.
"The daycare provider could not be reached for comment. The daycare was granted its latest license in May. The state reports investigating five complaints in 2011, but those findings were not available to view. Their last inspection in the middle of March stated that many employees weren’t properly trained in pediatric first aid, CPR, sleep safety related to SIDS, and spotting child abuse or neglect."
The news story (link above) includes two videos.

Aug 27, 2013

Pastor accused of having sex with foster daughter

According to Demond Fernandez in his news story Pastor accused of having sex with foster daughter, Darryl Earl Houston, a "pastor and foster parent is facing charges, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl. Now his other foster children are being removed from his custody." A neighbor is quoted in the story stating "He had about five or six kids."

Aug 25, 2013

Stevie Glasspool accused of soliciting sex from students on Facebook

According to Ari Hait in Stevie Glasspool accused of soliciting sex from students on Facebook, Stevie Glasspool has been arrested for using Facebook to solicit sex from several high school students. She is also accused of offering said students marijuana "as an added incentive."
Click here to view the news story (both written & video).

Aug 23, 2013

Exonerated but forever tarnished? On the lingering stigma of the wrongfully convicted

I would like to share an important article that I have come across recently. Exonerated but forever tarnished? Onthe lingering stigma of the wrongfully convicted was written by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest and was posted on June 20, 2013.

Wrongful convictions are disturbingly common. In the USA alone, over 1,050 innocent people who were found guilty in court have subsequently been exonerated. A new study, the first to systematically study stigma towards convicted innocents, finds that the old adage is true - mud sticks. Convictions may be overturned, but stigma persists.

Kimberley Clow and Amy-May Leach surveyed 86 psychology students in Canada about either "people who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime"; "people who have been convicted of a crime that they actually committed"; or "people in general".

The students rated wrongfully convicted people in a similar way to offenders, including perceiving them as incompetent and cold, and having negative attitudes towards them.  Although the students desired less social distance from the wrongly convicted compared with offenders, they preferred to have more distance from them than people in general. And while they expressed more pity for wrongly convicted people than offenders, this didn't translate into greater support for giving them assistance such as job training or subsidised housing. In fact, the students were more in favour of giving monthly living expenses to people in general as opposed to the wrongly convicted.

"A wrongly convicted individual should be viewed as any other non-convicted citizen," said Clow and Leach. "Our findings, however, suggest that this does not occur ... Wrongly convicted persons are not perceived as other citizens."

Bear in mind these results are only a tentative first step towards greater understanding of this issue. It's unsafe to generalise confidently from a student sample, and we haven't learned much about why the participants stigmatised the wrongly convicted so harshly. It's possible the students held a general belief that wrongly convicted people are likely guilty of other crimes. Or perhaps they believed them morally contaminated by their time in prison.

Despite its limitations, the new study chimes with anecdotal evidence. Consider the case of the unfortunately named
Kirk Bloodsworth. In 1993, after nearly nine years in prison, Bloodsworth was a free man thanks to DNA testing that showed he was not guilty of raping and killing a nine-year-old girl - the first time the scientific technique had been used in this way. Yet despite his release, Bloodsworth continued to be vilified, including having "child killer" scrawled in dirt on his truck.
Clow, K., and Leach, A. (2013). After innocence: Perceptions of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted Legal and Criminological Psychology DOI: 10.1111/lcrp.12018

--Further reading--
The Innocence Project works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted using DNA evidence.

Aug 21, 2013

Bus Dropped Off Coral Springs Middle School Students in Wrong City, Parents Say

This video and the accompanying news story can be found at

Aug 19, 2013

re: the murder of foster mother Lisa Knoefel

According to the above news reports, foster mother Lisa Knoefel was allegedly killed by her foster daughter Sabrna Zunich. Authorities don't believe that Sabrna acted alone. It is believed that Lisa's husband, Kevin Knoefel, was involved in the crime. He has "plead not guilty to 11 charges including sexual battery, aggravated murder, and complicity to commit aggravated murder."

Aug 16, 2013

Aug 15, 2013

Features - Wrongful Conviction and Innocence Resources on the Internet

I have just found a link that I must share.
which was published June 10, 2006 by Ken Strutin
features a wealth of information that could be of use to my readers.

Aug 14, 2013

S.A. couple: Social worker unfairly targeted us after baby delivery

Dillon Collier of KENS 5 sums up this story perfectly in his introductory sentence. "The parents of a newborn baby say they were unfairly targeted by a social worker at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital."

Aug 13, 2013

Presumed guilty until proven innocent...even then you're still guilty

I would like to share a piece by Carey Roberts - Presumed guilty until proven innocent ... even then you're still guilty - which was published June 8, 2011 on (Other pieces by Mr. Roberts on can be found here.)
_____ _____ _____
This past Thursday men and women from around the country convened to share their experiences facing down false allegations of abuse. The event was a sobering testament to how the former War on Crime has morphed into Open Season on the Innocent, or so it would appear.

The meeting was the first-ever False Allegations Summit, held in Washington, DC and sponsored by a group called Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. Yes, there were anguished sighs and tears as persons recounted their daily battles — for some, obsessions — to exonerate themselves and restore their good names.

The Summit led off with the revelation that 11% of Americans report they have been falsely accused of child abuse, domestic violence, or sexual assault. This astonishing number means tens of millions of persons have had their foreheads branded with the scarlet Abuser label.

The Summit then featured presentations by a parade of stakeholder organizations that have witnessed first-hand the effects of false claims.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers highlighted the "immense, often irreparable harm caused to our clients for false allegations, not only to reputation and personal relationships, but often to the accused individual's livelihood and even health."

The Home School Legal Defense Association documented repeated instances where an anonymous hotline call triggered an unannounced visit by a social worker, sometimes ending in the strip search of a bewildered child. These are not isolated cases — nationwide, over 85% of child abuse allegations are found to be unsubstantiated:

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children then testified how an allegation of child abuse or domestic violence often becomes a tactical ploy for an impending child-custody dispute. "When a father can be sentenced to months in jail for simply leaving a gallon of milk on his child's doorstep, we have indeed reached the point of 'hysteria' about the issue of domestic violence," ACFC executive director Michael McCormick commented.

The National Coalition for Men representative recounted the plight of Raul, a ship-welder who was caught in an unhappy marriage with an abusive woman. She began to accuse him of a litany of offenses including sexual abuse of their baby. As the conflict escalated, the woman's family started to threaten the man. Just two weeks ago, Raul was discovered lying in the California desert, a gunshot wound to the head.

Then Encounters International described how so-called Green Card Girls play the abuse card to secure their work authorization and citizenship. Recalling her childhood experiences in the former Soviet Union, Natasha Spivack told the spell-bound audience:

"In Stalinist Russia, innocent people were presumed guilty if reported as 'Enemies of the Motherland.' They were sent to the Gulag or executed without due process. In the United States of America, citizens are presumed guilty if reported as 'Domestic Abusers'....they lost their jobs, their mental health, their reputation, their trust in justice, and their self-esteem."

Then it was then the turn of the victims, the persons falsely accused, to speak out and break the shroud of silence and shame that too often envelopes the lives of the wrongfully charged.

Cheryl Shanks of New Jersey recounted how her former husband fabricated claims of abuse so he could get special treatment by the immigration authorities: "This ordeal began in August of 2003...The price on my family has been immeasurable. My son has his own therapist who he sees weekly."

Carl Starling of Maryland described how his former wife accused him of repeatedly striking her with his fist, but didn't experience the need to pay a visit to the hospital emergency room to tend to her wounds.

Gordon Smith of Delaware described the Mad-Hatter experience of having an abusive wife who sought to be absolved by accusing him of the very actions that she had committed. When he sought to file perjury charges, the prosecutor demurred, leading Smith to deplore the "state-sponsored protection" of false accusers.

And Terri Quick of Pennsylvania described the ordeal of her son who had engaged in consensual sex with a girlfriend. When the relationship went sour and she decided to re-connect with her previous flame, he suddenly found himself accused of rape. The evidence was all circumstantial, but enough to secure a conviction.

But it was Ben Vonderheide of Pennsylvania who stole the show:

In 2007 his ex-girlfriend was found guilty of three counts of making false statements to law enforcement officials. Despite the conviction, the ex- continues her campaign to vilify dad in the eyes of her son, and family judges refuse to lift a finger to stop the calumnies. "You're presumed guilty until proven innocent, and even then you're still considered guilty," Vonderheide wryly told the audience.

Are things as bad in the United States as they were in Soviet Russia? Of course not.

But accounts of anonymous informants, a galling presumption of guilt, ideologically driven prosecutions, a no-way-out criminal justice system, and the tacit condoning of perjury all point to an abuse industry that is spinning out of control.

© Carey Roberts

Aug 10, 2013

the death of foster child, Alexandria Hill

It seems that there has been a lot of coverage lately
about the death of foster child Alexandria Hill.
According to the news reports,
her foster mother, Sherill Small, is being focused on.
I would like to share a few links on the subject.
Foster mother admits slamming 2-year-old on head

I would also like to point out that, in this case,
the foster mother is not accused of shaking alone,
but of slamming (aka impact) her charge to the floor.


I have several other posts that also address
the tragic death of foster child Alexandria Hill.

Aug 9, 2013

Couple arrested for sexual abuse, neglect of children

Couple arrested for sexual abuse, neglect of children

Bernie and Melissa Harmon have been accused of abusing 4 children. News reporter Katie Bauer has "learned the four victims at one time were foster children of Bernie and Melissa Harmon until they legally adopted them." Both Bernie and Melissa have worked as school bus drivers: Melissa until this year, Bernie in the past.

Aug 1, 2013

More child sex charges for West Chester foster dad

Leroy Mitchell, who has been a foster parent for many years, has been accused of sexually abusing his former foster children. For more information, see More child sex charges for West Chester foster dad.