PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Franklin Park couple charged in the abuse of their adoptive children from Ethiopia reached a plea bargain Monday morning.
Douglas and Kristen Barbour each pleaded no contest to child endangerment, in exchange for other charges being dismissed.
Douglas Barbour was put on probation and he could lose his law license.
Kristen Barbour will be sentenced on Sept. 15.
According to the criminal complaint, inside the couple’s Franklin Park home, the children were abused and assaulted.
Investigators say the boy reported that he was once thrown to the ground, hitting his head, and punished by standing in a dark bathroom.
“When you adopt international children, there are difficulties and beyond difficulties, there are varying schools of thought as to how you deal with them,” said defense attorney Charles Porter.
The couple adopted a 13-month-old girl and a 5-year-old boy in March of 2012. The child told authorities he was forced to eat meals in the bathroom as punishment for urinating and defecating in his pants.
“One of these children was 7 years old and literally lived in the street,” said defense attorney Robert Stewart. “They thought these children would adjust the way their own natural children did and it just didn’t work out that way.”
As part of the agreement, the Barbours have agreed to terminate their parental rights. The two Ethiopian children are now in foster care in what the judge called an act of charity that went awry.
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