Editorial - HCDJFS must be held accountable

Nancy Whitacre and Margaret Kern deserve a standing ovation for their willingness to stand up and say publicly what many have been thinking privately since the beginning of the Gravelle case: Where is the accountability by children services? Whitacre, a juror in the Gravelle's recent criminal case, and Kern, the Gravelle children's guardian ad litem, have both publicly criticized the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services for failing to remove the Gravelle's 11 adopted children sooner. Both said HCDJFS had knowledge of the cages two years prior to the children's removal Sept. 9, 2005 and inexplicably failed to act....
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

 

Nancy Whitacre and Margaret Kern deserve a standing ovation for their willingness to stand up and say publicly what many have been thinking privately since the beginning of the Gravelle case: Where is the accountability by children services?

Whitacre, a juror in the Gravelle's recent criminal case, and Kern, the Gravelle children's guardian ad litem, have both publicly criticized the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services for failing to remove the Gravelle's 11 adopted children sooner. Both said HCDJFS had knowledge of the cages two years prior to the children's removal Sept. 9, 2005 and inexplicably failed to act....

Comments

Joe Clarke (Ano...

I have been wanting to comment on the Gravelles for some time, but was not sure if the Reflector has a Letter To The Editor section.

Many people are wanting to blame Huron County social services, but for the wrong reasons. To put it very simply, the highly trained social services people did not suspect criminal activity by the Gravelles because they witnessed no abuse. The case started as a media circus, with countless anti-Gravelle people jumping on the bandwagon for publicity sake. The sheriff, prosecutor, sundry case workers, guardians, and even the judge started seeing "cages" when there were none.

I visited the Gravelles and saw home made bunk beds which had doors that were added to do the obvious (obvious to everyone except Huron County's powers that be) - protect the children. Paid expert witnesses were bussed in by the hundreds, it seems, to prove how much more they loved the children, who no one but the Gravelles could care for.

There are too many contradictions in this case to mention, but improper search warrants; inaccurate description of the bunk beds; not cages; very questionable children's testimonies; faulting the Gravelles instead of Huron County Job and Family Services; the media frenzy; expert witnesses who have proven to distort and exaggerate such cases since the infamous McMartin daycare case in California; the children diagnosed as developmentally disabled and then, suddenly, they were not so disabled. The Gravelles should have been commended, not convicted, for taking on such an overwhelming task. If the HCJFS had noticed or heard anything that indicated abuse of the children, they could have conferenced with the Gravelles - who even hired their own personal social worker for oversight - instead of running like the proverbial bulls in the China shop led by the antihero prosecutor Lefler.

The fact is that the Gravelles took care of children under the watchful eye of those people who know more about parenting than even parents, the HCDJF, and gave them a home when no one else could. Prosecutor Lefler certainly reminds me of the prosecutor who falsely indicted the Duke Lacrosse students on frivolous charges in Durham, North Carolina.The jury was naturally mesmerized for the "sake of the children," and did not give the Gravelles any benefit of the doubt. May I even suggest that some jurors had to get home on time for Christmas?

Unless this sort of witch-hunting is stopped, other Huron County citizens can expect ( and I know of some) to be proven guilty - even before a trial. The System is not working.

In Summit County, where I live, we ordinary citizens have had to be relentless in purging our Social Services. Perhaps, citizens of Huron County need to do the same. Do not support any future levies for these people until they learn that parents have rights too.. Write letterss to the editor, write to State Of Ohio agencies who oversee your local social services. Complain to the Bar Association about malicious prosecutors. Elect only judges and prosecutors who have some semblance of reason and who are not easily manipulated by the status quo and social workrs, and expert witnesses who have one agenda: justifying and perpetuating their employment, not justice. Get involved, or you could be next.

Sincerely, Joe Clarke Akron Ohio