Lawyer: Gravelle children now in 'appropriate home situations'

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:50 PM

An attorney representing the court-appointed advocate for the 11 formerly adopted Gravelle children said the youngsters remain in various foster homes, which he called "appropriate home situations."

Jack Landskroner, the lawyer for guardian at litem David Brown, declined to say how many foster homes were involved, citing the safety and rights of the children. He said some the children have been moved to other foster homes since the initial removal, but all of them have been in their current homes for at least several months.

"Some of them are placed together and some are placed individually," Landskroner said, adding that he appreciated the community's support and concern.

Authorities removed the 11 children from the Clarksfield Township home of Michael and Sharen Gravelle in September 2005 based on evidence the couple kept some of the youngsters in cage-like structures built around bunk beds.

"Every one of them has obviously been through a traumatic experience ... and (they) are doing the best they can under the circumstances," Landskroner said.

Huron County Juvenile Prosecutor Jennifer DeLand declined to comment on the children's current well-being because the Gravelles' defense attorney, Ken Myers, recently filed a motion for more time to file appeals in the U.S, Supreme Court.

"I'm going to continue my no comment (policy) until this case is completely finalized," DeLand said Monday.

In June, the Ohio Supreme Court denied the Gravelles' request for a retrial on a Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Cardwell's decision giving permanent custody of the children to Huron County. Myers said last month the appeal wasn't dead, but was on "life support."

Brown, a Medina attorney, was appointed to be the children's advocate June 6. He requested Landskroner, a Cleveland attorney, handle all media inquiries.

Norwalk resident Margaret Kern had been the children's guardian at litem when the custody case went through Huron County Juvenile Court. She couldn't be reached for comment.

Attorneys Brown and Landskroner are investigating to see if the children have any legal claims or basis for civil lawsuits, Huron County Juvenile Court Administrator Chris Mushett said.

"If they do, they would enlist (another) law firm to do so," he added.

Landskroner said the ongoing investigation, which started about a month ago, is being done to protect the children's rights.

"I think some of the foster parents are considering adoption, but I don't think any of them have been adopted yet," he said.

When asked about the children's recent academic performance, Landskroner said it has varied based on each child.

"Some of them seem to do well. Some of them are doing poorly," he added.

On Dec. 22, a jury found the Gravelles guilty of multiple criminal charges of child endangerment and child abuse. A judge sentenced them Feb. 15 to two years in prison each, but they won't face the pending prison term until the appeal process is completed.

The Gravelles have said they haven't seen any of the children since the sentencing hearing.

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