NORWALK, Ohio – A social worker who knew a husband and wife were forcing some of their 11 adopted, special-needs children to sleep in wire-and-wood cages pleaded guilty Tuesday to failing to report a crime.
Elaine Thompson, 64, could get up to three months in jail on each the three misdemeanor counts at sentencing April 10. Twenty-nine other charges, most of them felony counts of aiding child abuse, were dropped as part of a plea bargain.
Sharen and Michael Gravelle said they contacted Thompson, a private social worker, in 2000 while looking for help in controlling unruly children. Sharen Gravelle testified at a custody hearing that Thompson approved the enclosed beds.
And Thompson testified that the children's behavior improved with use of the cages.
Last week, the Gravelles were sentenced to two years in prison for mistreating the youngsters by forcing them to sleep in the cages. They said they did it for the youngsters' own safety.
The Gravelles have lost custody of the children.