Dayton Daily News 2 kids left in car twice by mrg10873


									Dayton Daily News: 2 kids left in car twice in one day, mother arrested for
child endangering

By Lucas Sullivan
November 6, 2009

DAYTON - A 20-year-old woman was arrested on two felony child endangering
charges Thursday, Nov. 5, after authorities warned her twice in the same day not
to leave her children alone in the car.

Angela N. Duncan left a 12-month-old boy and 9-month-old girl outside the
YWCA on West Third Street before 11 p.m., police said. A passerby noticed the
children alone in a 1998 green Honda Civic and called police about 11 p.m.,
police said.

Duncan is the guardian of both children, police said.

Duncan had been warned by police and Montgomery County Children’s Services
earlier that day after she left the kids in the car for about 30 minutes, Children’s
Services spokeswoman Ann Stevens said.

A passerby also noticed the children alone in the car and called police in that
instance, Stevens said.

“We talked to her (after the first incident) about not doing that,” Stevens said.
“Then the same thing happened again. The children have been placed in foster
care and are doing just fine.”

Stevens said it’s never OK to leave children unattended.

“It only takes a second for something to go wrong,” Stevens said.

WHIO-TV (Dayton): No Charges For Mom Who Left Kids In Car

November 6, 2009

DAYTON, Ohio -- We have learned that a local woman arrested for leaving her
small children alone in a car, may not be facing criminal charges after all.
Dayton police said Angela Duncan, 20, left her 12-month old boy and 9-month-
old girl in a car parked outside the YWCA on West Third Street late last night.

Police said Duncan has not been charged because she claims she left the
children with two adults who were supposed to watch them, but took off.

Officers and officials from Montgomery County Children's Services warned
Duncan earlier on Thursday, after leaving the children in the car for about 30

Tonight, the two children are in foster care.

The Akron Beacon Journal: Media ban sought in custody case

BY: Beacon Staff Report
November 11, 2009

Prosecutors will ask Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio
to close a custody hearing set for parents charged with rape and child

A custody hearing was set for Tuesday.

Assistant Prosecutor Chris Mastran objected to the Akron Beacon Journal's
presence, however.

Mastran was granted a delay to argue against media coverage involving the
children of Michael Winland and Stephennie Murphy. A hearing is set for

The newspaper is expected to argue against closing the hearing.

The Children's Services Board is seeking custody.

Mastran said she was concerned about the effect news reports would have on
the children, ages 9 and 10, because of the ''egregious'' facts of abuse that could
be revealed.

The parents are willing to waive custody based on their incarceration pending
trial, their attorneys said. The couple would not, however, agree to an abuse
finding, as prosecutors insist.
Winland is facing a nine-count indictment: two counts of rape, each with a
predator specification; pandering obscenity involving a minor; a lesser felony
count of pandering obscenity involving a minor; illegal use of a minor in nudity-
oriented material or performance; two counts of endangering children; gross
sexual imposition; and one additional count of endangering children.

Murphy's indictment contains seven counts — the same charges, excluding
gross sexual imposition and the additional count of endangering children.

The Columbus Dispatch: Man tied up in baby caper gets 3 years on

BY: Holly Zachariah
November 13, 2009

MARYSVILLE, Ohio -- A man who signed a birth certificate for a baby he knew
he did not father avoided prison yesterday and instead will spend the next three
years on probation.

John Knasel, 45, of Sidney, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of tampering
with records, a third-degree felony.

Authorities say he was part of a complex case dating to 1992 that involved two
women: one who gave birth to the boy, and one who then falsely claimed the
newborn as her own and collected fraudulent welfare benefits.

Union County Common Pleas Judge Don Fraser also ordered Knasel to
complete 200 hours of community service.

Knasel apologized in court, saying he knew back then that what he did was
wrong. He said the woman who was to raise the baby was his girlfriend at the

A week after the boy was born, Knasel found a new girlfriend and moved to West
Virginia. He never had contact with the boy.

Knasel now lives in Ohio again; he's unemployed and raising a 7-year-old

Authorities say that in 1992, Marie Davis, now 40 and of Bellefontaine, had a
child but registered at the hospital and signed the birth certificate under the name
of Coriene Ilse, Knasel's girlfriend then. The three lived together at the time.
Ilse, now 44 and of Bellefontaine, raised the child as her own and collected more
than $62,000 in welfare benefits.

She pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, grand theft and tampering with records and
was sentenced last month to four years on probation.

Ilse also was ordered to pay the government back the money.

Davis has pleaded not guilty to charges of Medicaid fraud and tampering with

The situation came to light in 2005 when Knasel was ordered into court to pay
child support and told everyone that he wasn't the father and that Ilse wasn't the

The Cincinnati Enquirer: Moms, children stay locked up together in Ohio

BY: Sharon Coolidge and Eileen Kelley
November 13, 2009

On the campus of the Ohio Reformatory for Women, convicts shuffle across from
one spot to the next under watchful eyes.

Takeem's mother Takaya Patterson is exempt.

In contrast to the other buildings at the sprawling complex surrounded by razor
wire and blinding lights, the nursery is colorful and dotted with Sesame Street

Takeem's mother wears a prison jumpsuit. Takeem, with cherub cheeks and long
slender fingers, sleeps in her arms as she rocks.

Just 2 months old, Takeem lives in prison.

Under an unusual program, the state of Ohio lets Patterson raise him behind
prison walls.

Some experts say that approach is best for both mothers and their children
because the women are less likely to commit crimes when they get out, and
children get to be with their moms during critical periods of their development.

One critic calls the program a waste of taxpayer money and says prison should
be a place for punishment, not somewhere to raise babies.
Either way, one thing is not in dispute: the number of women in prison has
skyrocketed in the last three decades, and most female prisoners are single

In Ohio, being a prison mom is a full-time job for up to 18 months.

In Kentucky, infants can bond with their mothers, but for only a few hours at time.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of women behind bars
has increased 843 percent in the last three decades, growing from 12,279 in
1977 to 115,779 last year.

In that same time, Ohio saw a 577 percent increase in female inmates, from 577
in 1977 to 3,905 last year; Kentucky experienced a whopping 1,573 percent
increase from 139 in 1977 to 2,326 last year.

With so many more women landing behind bars, who is left to take care of the

In a 2004 survey, 84 percent of imprisoned parents said they left their child with
the child's other parent. The rest went elsewhere - including 3 percent who went
into foster care, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, Parent in
Prison and their Minor Children.

Ohio is one of nine states with prison nurseries.

Guidelines are stringent for Ohio's program. Since opening in 2001, 137 women
have raised babies behind bars.

Still, the benefits are indisputable, said Terry Collins, director of the Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Bonding key issue

Establishing an early bond between the infant and mother is imperative to
childhood development. And for the mothers, having that strong bond with their
children tends to be the impetus to play it straight on the outside.

"It is well known that family support and family bonds are among the top factors
that increase a returning citizen's chance of having a successful re-entry," Collins

Ohio set up a nursery in 2001. Indiana followed last year. Kentucky has a
nursery, but children are not permitted to live with their mothers.
The Women's Prison Association, a New York-based agency that advocates for
women with criminal records, recently studied babies behind bars and urged
states to allow moms to serve sentences in the community or to start nurseries
similar to Ohio's.

"I think people are realizing more and more women are going to prison and the
reality is that women are mothers," said Chandra Villanueva, of the Institute on
Women and Criminal Justice, part of the Women's Prison Association. "It makes
sense to keep mothers and children together and give them the foundation to
build a healthy relationship with their child."

Earlier this year, Villanueva released a report that found that women who
participate in prison nursery programs are less likely to commit another crime,
and their babies get to be with their mom during critical development months.

Birth of a child/program

The idea for an Ohio prison nursery was hatched in 2000 by two local women,
former state Rep. Cheryl Winkler, R-Cincinnati, and convict Barbara Turner, a
former nurse convicted of prescription drug offenses. Turner was pregnant when
entering Marysville and successfully fought to have the baby's father present at
her birth.

Turner wasn't allowed to keep her daughter with her.

Winkler proposed the nursery program, which was passed into law and officially
got under way in 2001. Turner has since been released.

That program allows Takeem to live in prison.Patterson, 29, is one of 11 women
currently in the program.

A judge gave her a deal in 2003: Pay back the more than $5,000 she stole from
her employer, Fifth Third Bank, and be monitored with five years probation.

In the end, Patterson didn't make good on the deal.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ralph "Ted" Winkler, the son of one of
the program's originators, sent Patterson to prison in April.

At the time, she was six months pregnant and a mother of a 3-year-old girl,
Tiyann. While standing before the judge again, the reality stung.

"In that courtroom I was thinking about my daughter, my family," Patterson said.
Tiyann went to live with her grandmother.

Patterson went to a Franklin County prison because it was close to a Columbus
hospital where she would give birth.

On June 25, with two guards at her side, Patterson was loaded into a van for the
10-minute ride to the hospital. Twelve hours later, she gave birth to 3-pound, 11-
ounce Takeem. She left the hospital three days later. Takeem stayed another 11
days while he gained weight and then he joined his mother in prison.

"I wanted to be with him and bond with him, and I didn't want to put that stress on
my mom," she said.

Life inside prison

Patterson and her son share a room with another convict and her son. Two beds
and two cribs leave little space in the small room.

The Ohio program can handle up to 20 mothers. Of Ohio's 3,000 female
prisoners, 69 were pregnant, officials said recently.

Some babies are destined for the nursery program. Others will be released
before giving birth. The rest will have to surrender their child to care outside
prison walls.

To qualify in Ohio, mothers have to be scheduled for release before their child
turns 18 months old to be eligible for the program. Experts think that children that
age will have no memory of where they spent their early life.

If there is such as being lucky behind bars, Patterson says she was because she
met the criteria. "There are a lot of mothers here who don't get to be with their
children," she said. "I want him with me, and I think he wants to be with me."

She vows she's going to make a fresh start when she's released in April.

Programs for convicts and their babies are relatively new, and little research
about their effectiveness has been done, according to Villanueva of the Woman's

In her study, she found Ohio prison officials looked at the program at its five-year
mark and found 118 mothers had participated, with just 3 percent of the women
committing another crime within three years of being released. Of the general
female prison population 30 percent commit another crime.
The Ohio nursery is run on grants and federal programs for the poor that these
mothers would have received even if they weren't incarcerated. A $69,000
federal grant pays for most of the program, nearly half of which is paid to a
visiting pediatrician.

Mothers also have the option of seeking child support from the child's father and
the prison has a case manager to help with that paperwork.

As with all convicts who give birth behind bars, taxpayers pick up the hospital

"The citizens of Ohio should not be paying for this (program)," said state Rep.
Joe Uecker, R-Miami Township, a former law enforcement officer who worked at
several area police departments. "With the economy the way it is - and even if it
were good - these women made a mistake and they need to be held

Uecker said he researched the program earlier this year when looking at the
prison budget and said he found nothing to prove it was best for the child. Foster
care, he said, would be a better option than prison life for an infant.

"You first have to convince me it's best for the child and then convince me this is
more than a burden borne on those of us who work for a living," Uecker said. "I
would be hard pressed to vote for this if we were given an opportunity to."

Collins of the Ohio Department of Corrections said he's proud of the program and
called it money well spent.

"These women will be coming back into the community," Collins said. "Is it better
for them to have a program where they can learn how to be a good mother and
care for their children, or have that child given up to foster care where maybe
we're starting another cycle of people coming to prison 18 years down the road?

"These are programs that teach responsibility and hold people accountable and
give them skills they don't have and hopefully makes then law-abiding citizens
instead of tax burdens," he said.

Mothers for a day

At the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Woman, a line of women all dressed
in drab khaki jumpsuits stop and stare as three infants are carted past.
A little girl with-doe shaped eyes and Minnie Mouse ears is really starting to
resemble her prison mother, some comment. The children are ushered into the
chapel where three inmate mothers sit anxiously on hard chairs waiting.

"No bottle today?" asked prisoner Erica Bowman, 23, as she unpacks a sack
lunch that was brought in with her son Tayland by his caretaker Cheryl Dugan.

"No bottle," Dugan boasted of the soon to be 1-year-old's development.

"Wow, I am so proud of you," Bowman cooed to her son.

Dugan has cared for Tayland since he was 2 days old. She and Bowman met
through Operation Open Arms just two weeks before Tayland was born.

The group, a licensed private child-placement service, operates on the principle
that children shouldn't have to pay for their mothers' crimes. The program does
not receive any state or federal money.

Of the roughly 650 woman doing time at the prison between 80 to 90 percent are
mothers. About 100 babies are born each year to mothers at this prison. In
August alone, there were close to 70 pregnant prisoners, officials said. The
correctional center is Kentucky's prison that allows pregnant inmates, so it also
houses pregnant woman who would otherwise be sent to jail, as jails don't
usually have the staff to care for pregnancies.

The prison allows children ages 3 and under to visit with their mothers for two
hours on bonding days, which can be several times a week. About a fifth of the
prison moms have children in that age range, but only a handful see their
children with regularity because of the time, money and the distances the
children's caretakers have to drive to Shelby County to visit the moms.

"These children did not commit the crime," said Laura Carpenter, the executive
director of Operation Open Arms, one of two private groups that cares for
children of prisoners and brings the babies to see their mothers weekly.

Mothering is fairly foreign to Bowman. Nurturing and raising her children, she
admitted, took a back seat to the frenetic lifestyle crack cocaine fueled when she
was living on the outside.

Tayland is Bowman's fourth child. The third was born addicted to the drug and
was taken away from her. Bowman also relinquished her parental rights to her
two oldest children to family during her crack cocaine days.

Now, Bowman says she's done: Done having children; done with dope.
She said her bubbly son with a carpet of dark hair is her inspiration to get her life
together so she can provide for her him on the outside.

As Bowman headed to a microwave to heat up her son's lunch, prison mom
Shanise Washington, 30, worked on her daughter's hair: changing it from a single
ponytail to two puffs of hair above her ears.

A judge allowed Washington, a repeat felon, to stay out of prison until after her
daughter was born.

Washington left Ke'syna Burgess with her husband. After five months, he said it
was too much. She never saw her child during those months, nor for a long time

Ke'syna was eventually handed over to Operation Open Arms, and over the past
year Washington has been getting to know her daughter, who will be 3 this

Ke'syna is shy around her mother. The two played dolls in a small nursery as
another pregnant prisoner filled out forms so that her soon-to-be born child will
be placed with a volunteer caregiver through Operation Open Arms.

"(Washington) is going to do the right thing," said prison Chaplain Kenny Talbott.

Seeing Ke'syna with regularity keeps Washington motivated. "She inspires me,"
she said of her daughter.

Washington finished her GED and has been taking classes in carpentry. She's
supposed to stay in prison for another 15 years, but Washington, like Bowman,
thinks she'll be out sooner rather than later.

And should she get out? "I am never going to wear khaki again," she said.

Dayton Daily News: Mother sodomized adopted daughter, teen testifies in
rape trial

BY: Valerie Lough
November 13, 2009

SPRINGFIELD — Vonda Ferguson shook her head as her former adopted
daughter, now 19, testified to an alleged sexual assault with a toilet plunger
handle in Ferguson’s trial Thursday, Nov. 12.
Ferguson, 46, is standing trial in Clark County Common Pleas Court on 32
charges of child endangering, permitting child abuse, felonious assault and rape.

The 19-year-old woman testified Thursday that Ferguson sodomized her with the
plunger handle as a form of punishment.

“I don’t remember what I was for something I wasn’t supposed to do,” the
teen said.

Defense attorney Jim Marshall called the girl’s credibility into question, asking her
to explain inconsistencies in stories she told various authorities after being
removed from the Ferguson home.

“I don’t remember, there were so many people I talked to,” the girl said.

Ferguson is accused of abusing her five adopted children — hitting them with
hammers and sticks until they bled, forcing them to eat excrement and burning
them with irons — between 2000 and 2004.

Her husband, James, 49, was convicted on similar charges last year and
sentenced to 65 years in prison.

The children, now 14 through 19 years old, were taken out of the home in 2004
and the couple gave up custody in 2005.

Testimony is expected to resume Friday in Judge Richard O’Neill’s court at 9

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