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The Allegheny County district attorney’s office doesn’t want a woman who admitted abusing two adopted children from Ethiopia released on home confinement and electronic monitoring.

Kristen Barbour, 32, of Franklin Park, pleaded no contest in June to two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and was sentenced to six to 12 months’ incarceration, which included eligibility for alternative housing and work release. She can leave the Mercer County Jail for up to 8½ hours six days per week to care for her two biological children while her husband, who also was charged, and in-laws work.

Her attorney, Robert E. Stewart, filed a petition on  Dec. 17 to modify the sentence.

“It would send a message to the community that endangerment that led to observable suffering and permanent damage is not something that the criminal justice system takes seriously,” deputy district attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni wrote.

Douglas Barbour, 35, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of children and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Mr. Stewart, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, wrote in the petition that she poses no threat to society, there is no evidence that she has any propensity to be a recidivist and she has complied with work release terms. When the petition was filed, she had served about 60 days at Mercer County Jail and four months of home confinement.

Ms. DiGiovanni wrote in her response that Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning exercised “discretion and mercy to craft a sentence which allows the defendant to continue to care for her children and maintain the familial structure. Despite these allowances, the defendant is now asking for additional relief after having served less than one third of her sentence of incarceration. This causes the Commonwealth to question whether the defendant is truly cognizant of the extent and permanency of the harm that she caused the victims in this case.”

The Barbours were accused of abusing a 1-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, who were adopted in March 2012.

The boy was malnourished and had skin injuries from lying on a urine-soaked mattress. The girl was rushed to a hospital Sept. 14, 2012, unresponsive and having seizures. Doctors suspected abusive head trauma and noted that she had healing injuries to her leg and foot. A report to Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families was made two days later.

Both children were placed in foster care and were adopted after the Barbours consented to having their parental rights terminated.

Alison Patterson, who adopted the children in July with her husband, said last week, “That Ms. Barbour caused this petition to be filed just two months into a sentence that includes daily furlough is further evidence that she fails to grasp the seriousness of the crimes for which she has been convicted.”

 

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cover Photo: Douglas and Kristen Barbour leave District Judge Robert Ford’s office In November 2012 in Leetsdale

Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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