PITTSBURGH (AP) — An ex-prosecutor and his wife have been sentenced for endangering the welfare of two adopted Ethiopian children after welfare officials found the boy had been underfed and the girl physically abused.
Douglas Barbour, 35, who resigned from Pennsylvania’s state attorney general’s office last year, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts in June and was sentenced to five years’ probation on Monday. Kristen Barbour, a 32-year-old stay-at-home mother who was the children’s primary caretaker, was sentenced to six to 12 months in alternative housing followed by four years’ probation.
The couple was charged in October 2012, when the boy was 6 and found to be malnourished, and the girl was 18 months old and had multiple head fractures in various stages of healing.
“It was like they were breaking a horse, not raising a child,” said Assistant Allegheny County District Attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni. “It was unconscionable that this went on. The very minute (the boy) was taken out of their care he began to thrive.”
Kristen Barbour told the court she decided to adopt the children in March 2012 after making church missions trips to developing countries.
Doctors found evidence of abuse when the boy was treated for an infection in September 2012. The boy weighed 37.5 pounds (17 kilograms), nearly 10 pounds (5 kilograms) less than when he had been adopted, and told investigators he was forced to eat meals in the bathroom or stand alone in there whenever he urinated or defecated in his pants. The girl’s injuries have never been explained.
The Barbours have regained custody of two biological children, ages 2 and 5, who were found not to be abused.
Another couple has since adopted the Ethiopian children. The boy told his new adoptive mother, Alison Patterson, that it hurt when Kristen Barbour “scribbled my face in the carpet when I peed,” Patterson testified Monday.
Kristen Barbour told the court, “I’m not a monster as some have portrayed me.” She added: “I wish the children a good life. I hope they find it in their heart to forgive.”