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Franklin Park couple accused of assaulting adopted children

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 5:54 p.m.

Allegheny County police on Thursday accused a deputy state attorney general and his wife of abusing their two adopted children from Ethiopia, including withholding food from one.

Police said Douglas Barbour, 33, and Kristen Barbour, 30, of Franklin Park, denied proper nutrition to their 6-year-old son and physically assaulted their 18-month-old daughter.

Douglas Barbour faces two counts of endangering the welfare of children, and one count each of aggravated assault and simple assault. Kristen Barbour faces two counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count of aggravated assault.

Attorney Chris Capozzi, who said he represents the couple, declined to comment.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said her office is reviewing the criminal complaint.

“Mr. Barbour faces a felony offense. Under OAG policy, he will be suspended without pay pending the resolution of the charges,” Kelly said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the children, and the Office of Attorney General will cooperate fully with this investigation.”

Police began investigating after both children ended up at Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville on Sept. 14.

According to the police affidavit:

The 6-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital because of concerns of hypothermia, rapid breathing and significant skin breakdown. The child initially was taken to Express Care in Wexford by his father for an infection.

During the visit, when told the boy's body temperature was 93.6 degrees, Douglas Barbour asked: “Would that be from being in the bathroom cold, wet and naked for an hour?”

When the boy was interviewed Oct. 2 at A Child's Place at Mercy, he said that when he was bad — which he described as pooping or peeing his pants — he was forced to eat his meals in the bathroom. He also was forced to stand in the bathroom in the dark, which he said was “scary.”

Upon his admission, the boy weighed 37.5 pounds but gained 6.8 pounds while he was in the hospital for six days. When he arrived in the United States in March from Ethiopia, he weighed nearly 47 pounds, police said.

The 18-month-old girl was taken to the hospital the same day because her eyes were rolling back in her head and she had difficulty breathing. Kristen Barbour told doctors the toddler had a history of banging her head. Doctors found multiple healing fractures and said it was abuse.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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