Gravelles raise $4,000 toward 'next step'

Michael and Sharen Gravelle have raised about $4,000 to go toward their appeal on convictions for keeping their 11 formerly adopted children in cages. "This was significant because it allows them to go to the next step in the process," defense attorney Ken Myers said, noting there are "a great many people" who oppose the Gravelles' efforts.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


Michael and Sharen Gravelle have raised about $4,000 to go toward their appeal on convictions for keeping their 11 formerly adopted children in cages.

"This was significant because it allows them to go to the next step in the process," defense attorney Ken Myers said, noting there are "a great many people" who oppose the Gravelles' efforts.

Auctioneer Steven Kraus, who has known the Gravelles since fall 2006, held the benefit auction at his Sandusky business, the Kraus Auction Haus. Between 15 and 20 residents donated items such as a handmade quilt, a vanity sink mirror worth about $500, power tools and some antiques.

"They got 100 percent of anything that was donated. ... They got money because people gave them cash," Kraus said. "There were several things dropped off when I wasn't there."

Michael Gravelle has been assisting Kraus with manual labor and organizing auction items on a part-time basis since January.

In the fall, the Clarksfield Township couple had another auction, but specific numbers were not available.

The Gravelles want to raise $50,000 for their defense and part of that would be for lawyer fees. The couple earlier met a June 25 deadline to keep the criminal appeal process going with an undisclosed amount of money.

"They still have a lot more to go," Myers said. "We're taking it one step at a time."

It will cost the Gravelles $10,000 to file the transcript of their criminal trial.

"I don't control the funds, but my understanding is they have raised the necessary funds," Myers said.

He explained that the court reporter needs more time to complete the transcript, which could be 3,000 to 4,000 pages long, so Myers submitted a motion to get an extension on the deadline originally Thursday.

"She won't know until she's done with (the transcript) how long it is," he added.

On Dec. 22, a jury found the Gravelles guilty of multiple 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.

Myers said there are "some very solid issues for appeal." He cited a search warrant suspected of being bad, "the very definition of child abuse" and if the Gravelles got a fair trial in Huron County because of the widespread publicity.

In June, the Ohio Supreme Court denied the Gravelles' request for a retrial on a juvenile court judge's decision giving permanent custody of the children to the county.

Myers, earlier this month, said the appeal which could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court wasn't dead, but was "on life support."

An estimated 130 people attended Friday's auction that lasted about 5 1/2 hours.

"It wasn't packed to the fullest, but every seat was filled ... at one time in the auction," Kraus said.

The auctioneer believes the Gravelles were pleased with the benefit auction.

"I think everyone was pleased," Kraus said.

He and Myers encouraged people to continue making donations through PayPal or contribute to the Gravelle Family Legal Defense Fund at any Key Bank branch.


Lillie Chaos (A...

If these people made tones of money from "farming children" why are they asking the community for more
money? I don't understand this part of the drama.

Lillie Chaos (A...

Sorry, for the second post---but may I ask: WHERE are the children? How are the children? I would like to do something for them. Donate supplies....whatever I could do. People care about the
children. Especially here in our community--everyone would help in anyway they could for the children of this
horror story. Can the Reflector give us an update on the children?

Kay (Anonymous)

Hmmmmmm??? Last week the Sandusky Register reported after the auction that over 10,000 was raised. Now it is only 4,000??? AWWWWWWWWW did Mr. Kraus keep some of the money.
What a good buddy he is. My vote is you people leave these kids alone, They do not need unstable people like the Gravelles any where around them. And for you people that are donating,have any of you ever listened to there real birth kids?? It's really sad.

Tidbit (Anonymous)

Here is a tidbit for you, one of the children is now claiming abuse in their new home. I wonder where they got the idea that they can get attention from claiming abuse?

harold r myers ...

i know one auction guy i would never hire to work for me

Steven W. Kraus...

No, I did not keep any of the money. The Register misquoted me, thats all. I believe the Gravelles deserve their appeal, so to that end I'm helping them. Remember the story in the Bible about the Good Samaritan? Well, in the story, the Good Samaritan found the traveler beaten, and left for dead. Now, in the story Jesus talks about all the other people who walk past the wounded traveler and do nothing, except for the Good Samaritan. He picks the wounded traveler up, binds up his wounds, and takes him to an inn, even spends money for his care. Now here's the point, JESUS NEVER TOLD US ABOUT THE TRAVELER. JESUS NEVER SAID IF THE TRAVELER WAS GOOD, OR EVIL, OR IF HE DESERVED IT, OR NOT. I guess Jesus didn't think that was important. So why should we? The Gravelles have been beated and left for dead by the News Media long before the trial ever took place. The lies that were reported are so outrageous, it's hard to believe anyone could have gotten a fair trial. "11 children found locked in cages built into the wall" was the headline heard around the world! However, the truth is, when the police arrived, all the children were out playing in the yard. There were only 6 "enclosed beds", some so big the children could stand in them, and NO LOCKS! So, if you don't want to help, that's fine. If you don't want to use me as an auctioneer, ok. However, don't believe everything you read. Heck, the register even got my name wrong and the date of the auction. My Grandpaw always told me to believe half of what you hear and none of what you read. What makes you think you've got the full story?

Kids (Anonymous)

Yeah, I heard one has been moved 5 times since the moved out for stuff that he's still doing. I used to know a guy who did time for fondling a child. He lived in a cruddy trailer park, and so did the "victim." He killed himself when he got out of jail. 2 years later the girl said she lied. How's that for the error free justice system??? I hope they do get enough money to appeal.

Anonymous (Anon...

I feel sorry for you Mr. Kraus the Gravelle's have brainwashed you to! You can not believe a single word that comes out of their mouth they lie!! I know for a fact everything that has been stated is correct. There were locks on the cages. I can't believe people are actually donating money to this worthless cause. They will never get the kids back. The kids are better off where they are instead of with these two crazy people!!!

Disgusted. (Ano...

Ugh. I don't understand why people are donating to these people. Horrible! The kids deserve way better treatment. I agree with the first woman's post down there saying where are the kids? I mean, we never hear about them anymore. All this paper is focused on is DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA.

Mr. Unbiased (A...

I find it so funny that people have to be so rude and offensive towards others. Mr. Kraus did nothing more than provide a service. Is McDonalds supposed to turn away the Gravelles if they want a Big Mac? I do not think so. So why jump on a man that has done nothing but provide a service. Another thing in life I find so funny is that good christians forget their teachings of the bible. I was always taught to hate the sin and love the sinner!! I do not know anybody associated with this situation at all but felt compelled to respond due to folks beating up on a buisnessman that is just trying to feed his family. I think next we should chastize public defenders. They defend criminals dont they?

TidBit (Anonymous)

Yes, some of the kids are still having problem in the homes that they have been place and once has been placed in several homes since. The reason you don't hear anything in the paper is because the kids are not reliable. Their stories keep changing. The say what they think will get them their way at that moment.These people were painted as guilty from day one, without much investigation at all. I am not saying they should have been allowed to have eleven adopted children, but there are several families in the area with an even larger number of natural kids.

little ole' me ...

which one of you wrote this comment--michael or sharon gravelle. so transparent and pathetic

Tidbit (Anonymous)

If you are talking about me, I am not associated with the gravelles, but I do know people at the courthouse and human services.

just wondering ...

then that explains it because if they would have had their way the children would have still been with the gravelles! Close their eyes to it until an outsider goes over their heads and gets something done about it. Been there done that with this county, they are a joke. They wait till some child has been abused and sent to the hospital before they take action. Why not stop it when it is brought to their attention, investigate anyways. Not go in and say well you must have *issed someone off because they keep turning you in! That is the truth. and a Willard police officer said the same statement to the one he was supposed to be investigating! And I hope he reads this because he knows who he is. And both children involved, not siblings, were later hospitalized. One was life flighted. What happened to the mother, nothing, except she did loose her kids plus the other child in question was taken from its mother. Huron county needs to get their act together.

Lillie Chaos (A... this seems to be an intelligent group reading this comment fighting or, I have another question, please. What can I, as a local resident and basic human being, what can I do to help this kind of ugliness. How can I step up and make an effort to make life easier for innocent victims. I am not rich, or young, but I do care and it breaks my heart to see all the horror stories involving children in our little rural community. There are many good people out there that share my need to step up--any ideas?

sick of robinso...

First thing we should do is help people like the one who is trying to adopt two children. This person is the one money should be raised for not the Gravelles. She is doing it because she loves them and not because it is a monthly check in her pocket, I assume I am speaking of a woman anyways. It makes me sick everytime I read the headline, "Gravelles raise $4000 toward 'next step'! And anyone who helped them raise this money should be locked up right beside them. It's like they're getting paid for abusing these children. Didn't they already make enough money from them? And the people who help them are saying it is alright to lock your kids in cages or else why would they be helping them. Hopefully none of them have children of their own. Maybe we should be checking out their homes for cages since they think it is alright.

T$Robinson... (...

to "lillie chaos" thank you for trying to find a way to help the situation ,, you seem to be a good person .. i would sugest that you try to become a childs advocate for the court system , where you would talk to the victimized children , and then speak for them on their behalf in the court room .. i believe that you could contact the court system , any branch of it , and they will direct you to where you need to be..... and to "sick of robinson" .. be careful , you suggested that we should raise money for the person who is raising the 2 children .. that's exactly what i suggested , and was critized so severly , by everyone , including Sharon , who is the person with the 2 kids .. so you see sometimes when people speak out and ask for help .. it is not help that they are looking for ... maybe it is attention that they need??

Gas Guzzler (An...

Iknow that i am totally off the subject, and i apologize , but please bear with me for a moment .. yesterday i had to drive to Bellevue , and i was shocked to see that the price of gas in Norwalk was $.20 higher per gallon !!! why?? it is disgraceful that the local gas station owners feel that we have become so complacent that we will just accept this and not do anything about this !!! that is why i am asking for your help .. i am asking that you join us in a summer "gas out" and refuse to but any gas in Norwalk until they lower their prices to be more competitive with the surrounding towns!! why should gas be cheaper in Avery , Sandusky , North Fairfield, and Bellevue??? i would like to show the local dealers that we won't accept this anymore .. that our time to stand against them is now .. that we are joining forces as a community and refusing to be taken advantage of any longer ... so please join us !! if it takes all summer to get them to lower their prices , then so be it ...please tell your friends , your neighbors , your relatives and anyone on your email address book that we are working together for a common goal , and to show the local gas dealers that we aren't going to take it an longer ... thatn you for joining us , and let's show them what we are made of

sick of robinso...

As I see it you got what you deserved. Everyone can see thru you. You are an instegator. You have sought out someone who has made some very good points to our attention and asked for some advise. You have continually critized every comment this person has made. Do you know this person, or do you have some kind of personal vendetta against them?? What is your deal robinson. Leave this person alone. So they have a family member with a large # of dui's. That should not and does not reflect on who they are personally and you should quit trying to make them look bad for that. They sound like a responsible. caring person who has 2 childrens best interest at heart.

keeping up with...

and to robinson, how can you sit on here and right out lie. You make a statement and when called on it you twist it to your liking. You are as transparent as tape. You offered "little old me" help but implied you could not trust them with any monies as it would be given to their brother for alcohol. Then you imply that maybe you should be raising these children in question. Who are you trying to fool, surely not us readers, maybe yourself. If anyone here is seeking attention I do believe that would be you, T$Robinson. I really do believe you are mentally challenged and should seek some mental health counciling. If not a mental problem then you are just outright cruel and need to be caged.

keeping up with...

also T$Robinson-you keep impling to "little me" as amazing. Well with taking on two children and recieving no outside help seems pretty amazing to me. Anyone else feel that way, let it be known! Seems to me they are doing it for the love and happiness these children bring to their lives, not the money as we have seen with the Gravelles. I'm sure these children are very lucky to have been placed with this person or persons. We need more people like these.

re:knowing (Ano...

They are doing it for the love and happiness it brings to their lives? so they are doing it for themselves? So then they are doing it for selfish reasons. They are doing it to make themselves feel good....what a bunh of jerks.

me (Anonymous)

to; "keeping up", no we are not amazing in any way. Their are millions of families out there raising children that are not theirs. We do it because these children need homes and need to be loved. Yes, it is wonderful to have them love you back and show you how just being there for them and loving them unconditionally means to them Or when you tell them you love them and they will say, "I love you more." It is a wonderful feeling. and to "re:knowing", how is loving these children and being loved back by them selfish. You are the jerk. Maybe you have a problem with this because you have lost your children or someone close to you has. Or maybe you were raised by adopted parents and have issues about it. Whatever the reason I hope you get over it and can find some happiness somewhere in this life, you sound like a very unhappy person. Good luck to you because with that attitude you are going to need it.

re:knowing (Ano...

me, I was being funny, I was taking your words and twisting what you said to make you look wicked to show you my point. Words can be twisted so can actions. I have been told that all but a couple of them still love the Gravelles and want to go back to their Mom and Dad" A couple of the older ones who know how to play the system are taking advantage of the attention they are getting. Not all that you and everybody else on this site knows is what you have read in the papers, but the story is a little different coming form the kids directly and not filtered through attorneys and human services workers who have to cover their asses or want to be on TV.

college grad (A...

unlike alot of you people on here , i absolutely and wholeheartedly support "T$Robinson". i think that the points that he makes are great and i think that he talks openly and honestly . i think the reason that he "picks on" little ole' me" is because she keeps telling alot of personal information about herself .. like the fact that she is adopting 2 kids ... which i think is a great thing !! but then she asked everyone in here to take up a collection for her ?? i don't get her ?? is she being sarcastic? or funny ? or what ?? i thought that all that "Robinson" did was offer her a way to help her raise the money that she asked us for ?? and like i said before .. i think that the fact that she is adopting kids is a great thing , and i , for one , applaud her for that , but please , quit talking about it to us .. it feels like you want us to award you some kind of medal or something ?? i always felt that doing good things was a blessed thing to do , but bragging about doing great things was embarassing... hang in there , T$Robindson .. i think you are doing a good thing , i think someone needs to keep her in check

me (Anonymous)

who is bragging or wanting a pat on the back, not me. I simply made a comment about these people raising money to help with their defense. And pointed out the difference's between their adopting these 11 children and being paid for it or having them placed in your home by the state. Robinson has kept it going and going for some reason?? It all started out as a jokely made comment about raising money that has turned into this. I am a middle aged women who is on disability and I would never have an auction to raise money to benefit myself. I was only trying to make a point. Sorry everyone has taken it all wrong or thinking I am patting myself on the back.

college grad (A...

to "me" i appreciate you trying to clear the air , and in all fairness , i have to correct you on one thing ... you say in your post that "Robinson has kept it going and going for some reason" but from my point of view , you seem to be the one who tries to keep it going and going , please , do us all a favor and leave Robinson alone ... thank-you

sick of robinso...

college grad, what are you, his or her butt buddy? That's what it sounds like to me. You need to re read a few of the comments they have made to "little me". They simply made a comment about the Gravelles raising money and Robinson has been attacking every since. Must be a family thing, thats why you have to stick up for the as*, right?? Better yet you sound like the same person to me??

sick of robinso...

what are you doing "college grad",it feels like you want us to award you some kind of medal or something! Stop bragging, so what, you're a college grad., I'm sure their are plenty of us on here, you don't see us bragging, how childish! Grow up, already!

about the Money...

Did any of you enlightened ones who think the Gravelle's did it for the money hear today what Hillary, (our soon to be) next President Defines poverty as? A Family of 6 making less then $106,000.00 a year! (Of course, this is for her socilized health care) However, the point is, The Gravelles were only getting $56,000 for 11 kids. That's poverty! Your nuts if you think they did it for money. The Gravelles loved those kids, and tried to make a family out of them and give them a feeling of belonging. There was no cages, only 6 enclosed beds with alarms, and NO LOCKS! (And there were 12 different social workers who knew and or saw and approved of the beds) I would think by now some of you who keep reporting the lies and ignoring the truth would get tired of it. The meida tried this case and hung the Gravelles out to dry long before a jury was ever selected. Fail trial? Ha! Even now, some of you want to put the people who are helping the Gravelles in jail? That's so stupid and unAmerican it's hard to believe anyone whould even think of such a tyrant, dictorship idea, let alone print it. Just be glad it's not you in the hot seat, and needing help! What's wrong with the Gravelles getting their appeal? The judge stayed their sentence BECAUSE HE KNEW OF THE ERRORS IN THE TRIAL! Normally the Defense has to ask for this, but in this case, the Judge even laid out the Appeals! So what's the problem all you good people? Are you scared maybe your wrong, maybe you comdemned to quickly and maybe the Gravelles didn't get a fair shake? What if what the Gravelles have been saying all along is proven true? What if there were no cages, and the childern were getting better, and there was no abuse, and Huron County is covering up something they really don't want you to know. What if it get's proven that many laws were broken to railroad a guilty verdict for the gravelles? How safe will you feel then? I say give the Gravelles their appeal. Let's shake the tree and let the truth come out!