Mar 27, 2006

Neglected Boy, 5, Weighs Only 15 Pounds

Left: Mug shots of Judy Gratton and Joseph Kahn, courtesy of News 10 Now

(Cortland, NY) While raiding a house for suspected illegal drugs, police in this upstate New York town made a sickening discovery.

Officers found a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome who weighed just 15 pounds. The child was sitting in diapers full of his own waste, and his body was covered with lice.

The average weight for a typical five-year old boy is 44.5 pounds.

One neighbor said that she had repeatedly called Child Protective Services last year about the family.

"What I noticed, from day one, was after I became friends with Judy, she drank all day, the baby was on the floor," said neighbor Christina Stevens. "There was no interaction. The baby never had any solid food. She never changed him."

Police found five ounces of marijuana - most of which was packaged for sale - along with drug processing equipment.

Cockroaches and overflowing bags of soiled diapers littered the house. Police also found two other children (ages 11 and 12) who showed signs of malnutrition and neglect.

"Many of these officers have small children, have raised children and to find this small child in a crib infested with body lice, cockroaches, garbage and severely undernourished tugs at everybody's heart," said Police Chief Jim Nichols. "This mother showed a depraved indifference of human life and caused serious physical injury to her five-year-old son."

Police arrested the children's mother, 48-year old Judy Gratton and her live-in boyfriend Joseph Kahn. The couple faces charges of fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, plus two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

"We came upon the five-year old victim located in the apartment inside a play pen," said Nichols. "The officers were horrified."


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with people like this? How in the hell can they watch their own children suffer?

historymike said...

Agreed, anonymous. This is one of the worst stories I have read in a long time.

And - to answer your question - I cannot understand how people can neglect their children. Most parents would do anything for their children.

I buy very little for myself just to make sure my children have everything they need. I drive a 17-year old Honda, wear clothes from the Goodwill, and let my growing kids have the last piece of whatever we had for dinner.

And every good parent I know does the same - we sacrifice so that our children are well provided for.

People like Judy Gratton and her live-in boyfriend Joseph Kahn are self-centered monsters.

-Sepp said...

Scumbags. Plain and simple. Any parent that would have their kids living like concentration camp inmates should be sent to one.

historymike said...

There is a streak of righteous indignation that burns in me when I read a story like this.

Would a concentration camp even be punishment enough? How about if we lock them in a box for a few weeks and let them sit in their own excrement like they made the little boy do?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

Filthy spammers.

Stephanie said...

OMG, how could CPS NOT act on this? Why does it take a drug bust to put a stop to this?

On the other hand, the children were alive (correct me if I'm wrong) and can now getting the loving attention they so desperately need and deserve.

Parents like these make "cruel and unusual" punishment seem not so wrong.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

Return of the Filthy Spammers.

That could be a scary Hollywood flick.

Anonymous said...

Child Protective Service agencies all across the country have pretty dismal track records protecting vulnerable kids. There are often multiple calls to these agencies before anything is really done.

Stephanie said...

And yet the seem to have no trouble coming to check up on my family, even though they know we're not negligent or abusive. Go figure!

Bureaucratic effeciency as usual?

historymike said...

I agree, Stephanie.

As a foster parent we have had the indignity of what is known as "third-party" investigations. This is when a child (or, more frequently, a child's biological parent) makes the claim that neglect or abuse is occurring in a foster home.

The case workers and an investigator are all over any such claim, no matter how ridiculous, because the first natural tendency of any organization is self-preservation.

Children's protection agencies could be forgiven for not knowing about a home that is not part of the system, but God forbid that the agency looks like it doesn't know what is happening in its own "territory."

(Note to my good friends in Lucas County - I am speaking in general terms about organizational behavior, and not griping about the agencies with which I have worked).


Stephanie said...

And yet, it seems that they can never be there in time to prevent/stop the abuse that DOES go on in foster homes. It seems like a sad, sick world sometimes and how anyone can do this sort of thing to a child is too far beyond me to devise a rational solution to the problem.

Kat said...

I used to live in Cortland, just blocks away from Union St. where this all happened, it's an all too familar scene. People just look the other way, authorities do not involve themselves, it's disgusting. I was there visiting when I heard this awlful news. I've seen that woman many times before and know the exact location of the home. This kind of things happens too much and nobody does a damn thing. It's sickening, had I known something like that was going on I would have walked into the house my damn self to save those kids. CPS is to blame, they never do anything in cortland, they never help the children like they're supposed to. It really just makes me sick and angry.

Anonymous said...

and just think - ....your tax dollars are supporting these two idiots while they are in jail....hmmm something is wrong with this system has been for quite some time. in my opinion, so that they understand "what" she did to her children - she should be treated the same way. No toilet in her cell, very little food, no clean clothes, no showers, let her rot.

Jodi said...

this is my mom and i am glad to have done what i did to not live with her any more i am healthier than i have ever been

Anonymous said...

It didnt need to be done like that, but whats done is done. She was a good mother but didnt know how to handle a disabled child after awhile.Everyone has to make her out to look like a monster and act like she didnt care about her kids and starved them. None of you know sht. Now that all this was done...their with their father who use to beat the crap outta their mother. How he even got them....who knows. Mabey you shldnt open your mouth about sumthing until you know the whole story