My reader Aimee sent along this story today with the comment, “A hot mug of Justice is served.” The source of her glee? Michael and Sharen Gravelle have been convicted of felony child abuse and endangerment, plus a string of misdemeanor charges. The jury was out for four days before finalizing its verdict. Apparently jurors didn’t buy their bullshit line that they had to keep their 11 foster kids locked in filthy cages “for their protection.”
It’s all over now except for the sentencing. Hopefully, that sentence will have something to do with chicken wire, honey, and fire ants.
Father David Russo has been charged with instigating the fight between teens that became a MySpace and YouTube trainwreck. Russo denies the charge. Hope it’s not true, buddy…
Okay, this has gone beyond ridiculous. If you haven’t been following the 190-comment-long Nancy Nibarger thread, you can get an update from the San Francisco Chronicle’s latest write-up. As you may remember, parents at Castro Valley High School in California called three different times for the dismissal of girls’ basketball coach Nibarger, who they claim mistreated and abused their precious darlings. After a 12-hour hearing, the school board agreed to create a six-member panel to select this year’s team, and to hire an ombudsman to oversee everything.
Well, guess what? C.W. Nevius reports that none of the kids whose parents complained made the team. And yet, despite the insistence of the panel and the ombudsman that Nibarger never set a toe over the line, these spoiled-brat parents are crowing that there’s a plot against their kids! There’s talk of a civil rights lawsuit against the school. Because, um, why? Because not making varsity is equivalent to having your head beaten in by the cops?!
Castro Valley parents: please do the rest of us a favor and shut your suburban, espresso-sipping mouths. You sound like 9/11 conspiracy theorists. And over what? A high school basketball team. You’re making even bigger fools of yourselves than you were a month ago. And here I didn’t think that was possible. Thanks for proving me wrong, dumbasses.
Thanks again to mgraber for this update in the case of Michael and Sharen Gravelle, the beautiful people charged with keeping their 11 special-needs foster kids locked in cages. You know, because God hadn’t been cruel enough to these kids already. This morning, Huron County Sheriff Dick Sutherland took the stand and described why the Gravelle house “didn’t look right” when he stepped inside. Sutherland described the stench of urine that hit him upon entry, and the rabbit-wire enclosures that housed the kids.
But that’s not all! Other witnesses have taken to the stand to report on how Sharen Gravelle would refer to the kids as “monkeys”, and order them back to their cages if they tried to go potty before their “scheduled time”. (That explains the piss stench, eh?) Another witness testified that dad Michael referred to himself as “Moses”. That paints as complete of a picture as you need, doesn’t it? Sharen Gravelle was obviously worn down by caring for these kids, but her husband probably pushed her forward so he could remain cocooned within his Messianic delusion. I’m amazed that these two haven’t turned on one another yet – though I suppose I shouldn’t. Couples naturally bond together when “attacked” from the outside, and dysfunctional couples even more so.
Are the Gravelles “evil people”? On one level, they’re just basket cases – in the husband’s case, narcissistic ones – who let their dysfunction spiral out of control. I can understand them getting themselves into this shit. But when they closed their eyes and their minds to the horror they were inflicting upon their kids? When they shut out reality and convinced themselves they were great parents, the facts notwithstanding? That’s when their hearts hardened, and they crossed the line from “stressed-out parent” to “abuser”.
I have hot tipper Keith Tipton to “thank” for this story about Steve Lively and his merry band of dysfunctional adults, who were indicted by a grand jury this week for harm they allegedly inflicted against Lively’s two teenage sons. Lively, his wife (a.k.a. the boys’ stepmom), the wife’s brother, and some fourth dude who lived with the other three in this House of Mirrors are accused of starving the teens, and torturing them with a battery charger. The quatro also are accused of using habanero peppers to punish the 15- and 16-year-old whenever they were “bad”. And I’m sure the loving parents decided that they were bad with horrifying frequency.
Both Lively and his wife, Melissa Lively, could spend the next 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges against them. The boys’ sister, Amy Lively, says that her brothers are lying little assholes, and that mom and dad are innocent. That would be more believable if the pair didn’t have a 15-year history with Child Protective Services. They even lost custody of several of the kids for two years on neglect charges. So…why were they allowed to abuse and torture again, exactly? Where was CPS in all of this? More accurately, why aren’t state agencies properly funded and staffed so that asstards like this can be monitored?
Hot tipper Vanessa Guite apologized for sending this link to me, but justified it by saying that “every horrible story needs to be told so they can be prevented.” Amen, Vanessa. And 21-year-old Michael Wilkins of Niagara Falls, New York deserves all of the loathing he receives. His three-month-old son, Marquez Wilkins, is still in the intensive care unit with fractured ribs and brain-bleeding. How’d it happen? Oh, it’s all a misunderstanding! maintains Wilkins Sr., who insists he never meant to hurt his son.
They never do, do they?
Michael Wilkins says that he tripped over a video game controller, sending it careening into his son’s head. I can’t imagine why, but investigators didn’t buy this load of bullshite. So Wilkins invented a second story: he tripped over the baby. When they didn’t buy that either, he gave them a third. This time around, he copped to “squeezing” Marquez too hard when the infant wouldn’t stop wailing, then throwing him into his crib to go smoke. Then, he says, he tripped over the kids on his way back in. And after that, he kicked the controller into the child.
Wilkins is making all kinds of noise about being remorseful, and wanting to be a “good father”. What Wilkins really wants more than anything, folks, is to keep his sorry, child-abusing ass out of jail. Here’s hoping the judge doesn’t grant him his wish.
Thanks to MCA for providing proof that straight parents don’t have a monopoly on abuse. The Afrikaans word “Vereeniging” means “Association” or “Union”, giving it undertones of solidarity and community. But there was no community for four-year-old Jandre Botha of the town of Vereeniging, which lies in the Gauteng province of South Africa. That’s where his mother, 32-year-old Hanlie Botha, and her then-partner, 33-year-old Thea de Nysschen, beat the poor child until his brain began to die. The pair was sentenced to serve 15 and 20 years, respectively, for the child’s death. According to testimony, de Nysschen beat the child out of jealousy, while Botha stood back and did nothing. The parents maintained that their beloved Jandre had “fallen in the bath”. Hogwash, said a pediatrician, who described the child as looking like he’d emerged from a war zone.
In her verdict, Magistrate Retha Willemse tried to figure out what poor Jandre had “done” to deserve such savagery. What supposed crime did he commit that set the moms off, sending them on a violent tear? Wow, I wish it were that simple. Sometimes, Magistrate, people are pissed off at life itself, and they take their “revenge” out upon whatever innocent targets have the misfortune to stumble across their paths.
Hot tipper Diamond sent this story to me. Frankly, I’m reluctant to blog it here. I’ve decided to put it up with a giant question mark. It seems unbelievable at first glance. 22-year-old Scott Jennings is charged with child sexual abuse. He had easy access for his assaults: his 12-year-old victim helped him cut a hole under her divan bed, where he lived for three months. Jennings eventually grew tired of the cramped quarters and took the girl back to his flat in Manchester, where police busted him.
I ask you, dear reader: Would you have known that a pedophile was living in your house? On the one hand, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t notice the subtle disturbances – the small sounds he made in his hideaway, the missing food, the change in your child’s demeanor, the damage to the bed. How could you not know that something was off? On the other hand, if this had happened to my daughter, I can’t declare with 100% righteousness that I would’ve found the bastard out.
What say you? Is this a case of neglectful parenting…or a horror story that should give every parent pause?
Poor Robert Croak Jr. He probably thought he was being clever when he manipulated his work schedule to avoid paying an ass-ton of funds in child support. A nuclear power plant specialist by trade, Croak is unemployed for large periods of time as a matter of course. But the Massachusetts Courts of Appeals this week affirmed lower court rulings that Croak intentionally passed up on new gigs and lived off of his retirement savings as a way of skirting his support debt. Now the courts are ordering him to choke up $119,000 in back support to his ex-wife Lorraine Bergeron and their two wee ones.
Nice try, Mr. Croak. You would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids and that stupid wife!
(God, I’ve always wanted to work Scooby-Doo into a PBB post…)
Good luck to Ms. Bergeron in collecting on this backlog. Fortunately for her family, it sounds like Croak is plumb out of legal options shy of petitioning the Supremes. And I don’t see this case ending up there, given the lack of a Constitutional issue. You’re a deadbeat dad, dude. You didn’t pay when you knew you were obliged to. You received nearly half a million dollars between retirement account withdrawals and inheritance. How much of that did your kids see? Did you even stop to think about them while you were livin’ it up? I hope you spent that cash on something hardcore, like hookers and blow – ’cause you’re gonna be paying for your good time for many, many years to come.
More bad-behaving parents at youth sports. This time, they’ve brought the violence down to the Pee Wee level. Date: this week. Location: Corpus Christi, Texas. The parents didn’t start the fire this time – it appears a coach did – but a few of them certainly didn’t mind getting in a few kicks for good measure. Pay particular attention at the 47-second mark to the bitch who kicks another woman in the ass, sending her tumbling onto the human pile below. Amazing. (Thanks to Current Events for the tip. I think someone else also tipped me on this story, but I can’t find the email – let me know if I forgot to credit you. Thanks!)