Pennsylvania couple arrested for abusing Ethiopian kids

PENNSYLVANIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania prosecutor and his wife severely mistreated their adopted Ethiopian children – their 6-year-old boy who a doctor found malnourished and had skin lesions and an 18-month-old girl who had signs of multiple skull fractures, county police said.

Deputy Attorney General Douglas Barbour, who works out of the Pittsburgh office, and his wife, Kristen, were arraigned Friday on charges stemming from the treatment of their children. The Franklin Park couple are scheduled for an Oct. 9 preliminary hearing.

Allegheny County police said they began an investigation after the children saw a doctor Sept. 14 and the boy was admitted to the hospital. A doctor since then has recommended that the children have no contact with their parents, particularly the girl who the doctor said could be injured again or die if she remains with the Barbours, according to court documents.

Douglas Barbour, 33, and Kristen Barbour, 30, face charges of aggravated assault stemming from their daughter’s treatment and endangering the welfare of children related to both the girl and boy. Douglas Barbour also faces a simple assault charge related to his son’s condition.

Chris Capozzi, a lawyer representing the Barbours, declined comment when the arrests were announced Thursday. He did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Friday after details emerged from court documents following the couple’s arraignment.

Both children, whose names were not released, went to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on Sept. 14 after the boy was taken to an urgent care center for hypothermia, rapid breathing and skin lesions, which a doctor later determined were caused by lengthy exposure to urine, court documents say. The boy was admitted to the hospital.

The girl was having difficulty breathing and her eyes were rolling back in her head; Dr. Rachel Berger found the toddler had multiple head fractures in various stages of healing, the documents say. Kristen Barbour allegedly told doctors the toddler often banged her head accidentally, but Berger said the child’s injuries were consistent with abuse.

She recommended to police that the children have no contact with their parents, particularly the girl who Berger said would likely be injured again or die if she continued to live with them.

The boy weighed 47 pounds when he came to the U.S. from Ethiopia in March but 37.5 pounds when he was admitted to the hospital, police said. He gained nearly seven pounds during a six-day hospital stay, Berger told police.

When Douglas Barbour was told his son’s body temperature was 93.6 degrees, he reportedly asked: “Would that be from being in the bathroom, cold, wet and naked for an hour?”

Officials who questioned the boy were told he was forced to eat his meals in the bathroom or sometimes stand there in the dark if he soiled his pants.

Attorney General Linda Kelly said Douglas Barbour has been suspended without pay.

“Our thoughts are with the children, and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully with this investigation,” Kelly said.