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  1. #1
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    IN - Elijah Roberson for raping, impregnating adopted child, Gary, 2010

    Gary man: I don't remember sex with young relative

    Paternity tests show adoptive dad fathered teen's two children

    By Marisa Kwiatkowski - marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 | Posted: Friday, January 1, 2010 12:05 am | (7) Comments
    CROWN POINT | Elijah Roberson said he does not remember having sex with his underage blood relative, Lake Criminal Court records state.The 47-year-old Gary man told Lake County police he used to drink a lot and has mental health issues, the court records state.
    Roberson was charged this week with four felonies -- two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and one count each of child molesting and incest. Roberson is accused of having a more than four-year sexual relationship with the young female relative, which produced two children, court records state.
    Roberson denied the sexual relationship with his biological relative but later told police that if paternity tests indicate he is the children's father, he would take responsibility and provide them with financial support, court records state.
    The tests confirmed Roberson was the father with 99.9 percent certainty, prosecutors said.
    Roberson and his wife at the time adopted the girl in the early part of the decade in Kern County, Calif. Before that, the girl lived in a foster home in Indiana.
    Roberson was able to adopt the girl despite a 1994 felony conviction for armed robbery. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and released in 1999, court records show.



    more at link:


    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/l...b6aada143.html

    This should have never happened! How is a convicted felon allowed to adopt a child? Never mind he doesn't remember, my azz, he doesn't remember.

    I can only hope this teen mother gets the help she needs, as well as the babies. What a shame the systems to protect our children failed this young mother so miserably.

    I'm still floored a convicted felon was allowed to adopt this child.
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


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  2. #2
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    An armed felony? That sounds mighty fishy to me. During an adoption home study, any criminal history is very closely looked at and felonies are almost always a dealbreaker. An armed felony knocks my socks off.

    The states must have made a huge exception for this adoption. I hate to say this but they most probably allowed the adoption due to the fact that he was a blood relative and over the years, many states have been allowed to avoid paying adoption assistance payments to relatives. I fought this practice for 16 years in my role as a child advocate. Once again I sound like a broken record, "So, we balance our budgets on the backs of our vulnerable children?"

    I don't know this to be the case but I suspect it. Let me look into this a little more. This is appalling and some heads need to roll.

  3. #3
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    OK. There's several things that jump out at me here. First, Mr. Roberson's comments are horrifically offensive to all parents who have mental health issues and drink to excess. Many parents have those challenges but do not have rape their young children. Shameful.

    The following is purely conjecture on my part as I don't have the facts of the case. My area of expertise in in special needs adoption subsidy and interstate placements. If the child was initially in a foster home in Indiana, most likely she was a dependent of that state. By federal mandate, states must search for relatives for adoptive placements, unless the judge determines that that would not be in the child's best interest ie. so appropriate family members (hello!!) or a deep attachment with a current foster family. The sad part is that many states enacted laws to allow them to circumvent paying adoption assistance for these relative families. As you can imagine, states took advantage of the fiscal savings and made exceptions for "marginal" relative placements. And I would consider a man who did time for an armed felony to be far less than marginal. My guess is that this teen has a right to compensation for this horrible scenario.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the child abuse was one of the reasons that the family seemed to move fairly often. That would have kept the young teen's pregnancies from raising too many red flags, although, I'm shocked that no one noticed and called authorities. Who delivered the babies? Whom did she name on the birth certificates? Were teachers or caseworkers involved in her life?

    The last issue that surprises me is that the state of Ohio, where the child fled, has placed the teen and her children separately. That is not considered best practice unless she is relinquishing the children for adoption. That is, of course, her choice. It wouldn't surprise me if the babies are also placed with family. Let's hope that this time, they can find a safe family member to parent.

    This sounds like a nightmare for child welfare. IMO, they share responsibility for the absolute failure of the state to protect this child. I'm sure the advocacy groups will be on top of this. I'm going to contact the North American Council on Adoptable Children on Monday to make sure they're aware of it. This is the agency I represented and they specialize in adoption policy and the effects on children. I think they'll be very interested in the outcome of this case.

  4. #4
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    Un-freakin-believable.

    Talk about selective memory. Poor, poor girl. I mean how do you get dealt that lousey hand in this cold, ugly world?

  5. #5
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    http://www.ai.org/legislative/ic/cod...ar19/ch11.html

    From the Indiana laws concerning adoption home study. This outlines what past crimes are not permissible in going forward with an adoption.



    "(c) A conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor related to the health and safety of a child by a petitioner for adoption is a permissible basis for the court to deny the petition for adoption. In addition, the court may not grant an adoption if a petitioner for adoption has been convicted of any of the felonies described as follows:
    (1) Murder (IC 35-42-1-1).
    (2) Causing suicide (IC 35-42-1-2).
    (3) Assisting suicide (IC 35-42-1-2.5).
    (4) Voluntary manslaughter (IC 35-42-1-3).
    (5) Reckless homicide (IC 35-42-1-5).
    (6) Battery as a felony (IC 35-42-2-1).
    (7) Domestic battery (IC 35-42-2-1.3).
    (8) Aggravated battery (IC 35-42-2-1.5).
    (9) Kidnapping (IC 35-42-3-2).
    (10) Criminal confinement (IC 35-42-3-3).
    (11) A felony sex offense under IC 35-42-4.
    (12) Carjacking (IC 35-42-5-2).
    (13) Arson (IC 35-43-1-1).
    (14) Incest (IC 35-46-1-3).
    (15) Neglect of a dependent (IC 35-46-1-4(a)(1) and IC 35-46-1-4(a)(2)).
    (16) Child selling (IC 35-46-1-4(d)).
    (17) A felony involving a weapon under IC 35-47 or IC 35-47.5.
    (18) A felony relating to controlled substances under IC 35-48-4.
    (19) An offense relating to material or a performance that is harmful to minors or obscene under IC 35-49-3.
    (20) A felony that is substantially equivalent to a felony listed in subdivisions (1) through (19) for which the conviction was entered in another state.

    However, the court is not prohibited from granting an adoption based upon a felony conviction under subdivision (6), (12), (13), (17), or (18), or its equivalent under subdivision (20), if the offense was not committed within the immediately preceding five (5) year period.


    The way I read this is that Mr. Roberson was approved due to the fact that his crime occurred more than five years preceding the adoption. I guess they chose to overlook the fact that, by my calculations, he got out of prison just prior to the adoption. This is not best practice in adoption.

  6. #6
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    Missizzy,

    Thank you. I've read many of your posts and haven't had the opportunity to thank you for the information, knowledge and sadly experience you have brought to WS with your posts.

    From the article I linked.

    Roberson and his wife at the time adopted the girl in the early part of the decade in Kern County, Calif. Before that, the girl lived in a foster home in Indiana.

    I'm unsure how she went from Indiana to California..... I also wonder if the California laws are similiar.

    I hadn't thought about this teen mom being compensated, but you are absolutely right, she should be.

    Also, I don't know what this adopted father was thinking by making the statement if he's proven father, he'd 'man up' so to speak and financially support them. Is he kidding? how offensive....... IMO, if he is gonna man up about any of this, he should plead guilty and save the tax payers the expense of a trial. He's not gonna win one with the DNA tests.

    I need to look again, if she is 17 now, at what age did he and his former wife adopt her? Also, if the ex wife knew of any of this why didn't she report it and why is she not being held accoutable for any of this that happened on her 'dime' as well. ETA: I see early part of the decade so what would have meant the adoption occured no earlier than 2000. Meaning the father was out of prison approximately one year. Had he done the full 7 years he would have still been in prison at the time she was adopted. ....... mouth still on the floor as to how this can legally happen. I am stunned.

    It really sounds like the states need to reconsider that 5 year ruling with regards to placing children for adoption in the homes of convicted felons. It also makes me wonder how many other adopted children have been placed with convicted felons ( within the parameters posted above by missizzy ). It's not something I thought possible until I found this news article.
    Last edited by Cubby; 01-02-2010 at 02:10 AM.
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missizzy View Post
    OK. There's several things that jump out at me here. First, Mr. Roberson's comments are horrifically offensive to all parents who have mental health issues and drink to excess. Many parents have those challenges but do not have rape their young children. Shameful.

    The following is purely conjecture on my part as I don't have the facts of the case. My area of expertise in in special needs adoption subsidy and interstate placements. If the child was initially in a foster home in Indiana, most likely she was a dependent of that state. By federal mandate, states must search for relatives for adoptive placements, unless the judge determines that that would not be in the child's best interest ie. so appropriate family members (hello!!) or a deep attachment with a current foster family. The sad part is that many states enacted laws to allow them to circumvent paying adoption assistance for these relative families. As you can imagine, states took advantage of the fiscal savings and made exceptions for "marginal" relative placements. And I would consider a man who did time for an armed felony to be far less than marginal. My guess is that this teen has a right to compensation for this horrible scenario.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the child abuse was one of the reasons that the family seemed to move fairly often. That would have kept the young teen's pregnancies from raising too many red flags, although, I'm shocked that no one noticed and called authorities. Who delivered the babies? Whom did she name on the birth certificates? Were teachers or caseworkers involved in her life?

    The last issue that surprises me is that the state of Ohio, where the child fled, has placed the teen and her children separately. That is not considered best practice unless she is relinquishing the children for adoption. That is, of course, her choice. It wouldn't surprise me if the babies are also placed with family. Let's hope that this time, they can find a safe family member to parent.

    This sounds like a nightmare for child welfare. IMO, they share responsibility for the absolute failure of the state to protect this child. I'm sure the advocacy groups will be on top of this. I'm going to contact the North American Council on Adoptable Children on Monday to make sure they're aware of it. This is the agency I represented and they specialize in adoption policy and the effects on children. I think they'll be very interested in the outcome of this case.
    My bold. Thank you. I am glad you found this thread. I'm interested as well, especially with regards to the fact that if this man had done his full 7 years mostly likely he would have still been in prison at the time he and his ex wife adopted this young girl.

    I wonder if he is a blood relative, and the thought that he adopted her solely to molest her makes me ill. Please keep this thread posted with what you find Missizzy. thanks!
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


    Long Lost Love - Discovery ID - Disappeared - Bob Harrod Case

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  8. #8
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    BBM
    Officials from the Indiana Department of Child Services and Kern County Superior Courts in California said they could not comment because adoption records are confidential.

    But DCS spokeswoman Ann Houseworth said Indiana did not require background checks for adoptions until July 2006.

    Under current Indiana law, Roberson would undergo background checks through FBI and Child Protective Services databases, as well as a home study to ensure the child's safety took place.


    http://munster-me.zebramm.com/articles/195309303
    Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
    ~MLK, Jr.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tizzle View Post
    BBM
    Officials from the Indiana Department of Child Services and Kern County Superior Courts in California said they could not comment because adoption records are confidential.

    But DCS spokeswoman Ann Houseworth said Indiana did not require background checks for adoptions until July 2006.

    Under current Indiana law, Roberson would undergo background checks through FBI and Child Protective Services databases, as well as a home study to ensure the child's safety took place.

    http://munster-me.zebramm.com/articles/195309303

    From Missizzy's link above:
    (d) A court may not grant an adoption if the petitioner is a sex or violent offender (as defined in IC 11-8-8-5).
    As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.11. Amended by P.L.257-1997(ss), SEC.38; P.L.200-1999, SEC.23; P.L.1-2002, SEC.126; P.L.123-2002, SEC.29; P.L.129-2005, SEC.3; P.L.140-2006, SEC.17 and P.L.173-2006, SEC.17; P.L.145-2006, SEC.253; P.L.1-2007, SEC.196; P.L.138-2007, SEC.44; P.L.216-2007, SEC.34; P.L.3-2008, SEC.238.


    my bold on the years. I don't really know how to read what these things mean and for what year what was required. However, clearly some things had to be looked at prior to 2006. Missizzy, can you clarify for us, do the area's I bolded only pertain to the petitioner being a sex of violent offender? I'm confused.... surely some back ground had to be looked into prior to 2006. Surely Indiana didn't just hand off children to anyone who asked for one prior to 2006.

    I would really like further clarification on what the DCS spokesperson meant by background checks were not required prior to 2006.
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


    Long Lost Love - Discovery ID - Disappeared - Bob Harrod Case

    You can now purchase Mr. Harrod's Disappeared episode through Amazon, iTunes or YouTube.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filly View Post
    Un-freakin-believable.

    Talk about selective memory. Poor, poor girl. I mean how do you get dealt that lousey hand in this cold, ugly world?

    and how many others are out there in a similiar situation who have not disclosed the horror they are living?
    ~JMO~

    A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown


    Long Lost Love - Discovery ID - Disappeared - Bob Harrod Case

    You can now purchase Mr. Harrod's Disappeared episode through Amazon, iTunes or YouTube.


  11. #11
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    Cubby--Thank you for the complements. My area of expertise is "narrow" in this field but I am passionate about it. Many people do not understand that the Child Welfare Law of 1980 set forth entitlement funds for "waiting children". This Act removed all disincentives to adoption and recognized that raising special needs children or those who have been in the system for a long time is not without extra cost. Children are entitled (states hate that word but it is the federal mandate) to receive an adoption assistance payment up to but no more than the appropriate foster care rate, including any therapeutic rates.

    The AAP is a combination of federal funds and state funds and the state must submit a State Plan which must be approved by the feds to continue to receive funding. For more information, this is "my" organization's site:

    http://nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/adoptionsubsidy.html

    The problem with this system is that states are always trying to balance their budget and many are notorious for not informing foster and adoptive families of their rights. My job, for almost 15 years, was to be a legal rep for those families (in Oregon and far Northern California) at state fair hearings and to educate families on the law.

    The goal is to create an incentive to permanency and to facilitate success. Adoption of special needs children is not for the altruistic. Therapy, specialized respite, property repair and replacement, etc. are not free. Families that are struggling financially cannot be "present" to raise these kids. The CWA of 1980 came about due to the hundreds of thousands of waiting children in the system and the vast numbers of "disrupted" adoptions (children returning to the system).

    I hate to be disrespectful of the state spokeswoman but her statement is just not true. All states have had mandatory background checks since the inception of the Child Welfare Act and it is a mandatory component of the State Plan. If you look at the link I posted to the Indiana law, you'll see notations of regulation/law modifications dating back until at least 1997. Laws are constantly being modified and build on what has come before. I'll do a little more research and see what I can find about the veracity (or lack thereof) of this person's statement. I have a feeling that the Indiana foster parents and adoptive parents groups are going to call her on the carpet on this one.

    Concerning the "placing state". Remember, we don't have all the details. But if I'm reading this correctly, the girl was in foster care in Indiana which tells me that she was a ward of that state. The "placing state" or "state of origin" pays for the child's AAP until the age of at least 18, no matter what state the family moves to. The only thing that changes is related to medical coverage. The receiving state provides the child with a full medical card (another incentive put in place by the CWA of 1980). Families can move wherever they wish and their child's AAP will follow them. The family applies through COBRA to receive a medical card in a new state. If I'm incorrect and the child was compensated through California, the same holds true. The only oversight of the adoption is a recertification of the AAP every couple of years. Adoptive families do not have the involvement of social workers unless a founded report is made and the state does an evaluation. An adoptive family is treated no differently than a birth family, in this respect.

    If what I've been concerned about proves to be true, it is that this child was placed with a relative in what was called "kinship care" at the time. Many states paid little or nothing in these situations, only providing a medical card. That would explain making a major exception for Mr. Roberson. The law has since been changed and is changing still to include more and more children and to remove these barriers to permanency. One possibility that cannot be overlooked, however, is that the Robersons might have turned down the AAP (which is certainly accepted and applauded by the states) but that would not negate the requisite background checks and suitability overview of the family. A single worker does not make the choice of a family. Several choices are presented to a committee and a decision is made. If the child is to sent across state lines, there is another hurdle; the Interstate Compact. This group makes certain that all laws have been followed and best practice followed.

    I, too, am very curious as to why no one reported such a young mother. Presumably, this child attended school and received medical care? Why did no one make a report? And you are correct, if the adoptive mother was aware of any abuse, she would be culpable.

    Cubby, my math is similar to yours. It sounds as if the adoptive father had the child placed with him within a year or so after being paroled. IMO, that just is not appropriate. A parolee has a lot on his plate. Adopting a child would not be an appropriate action from a social work stand point.

    Another issue I haven't seen discussed is the man's own admission that he has mental health issues and is a heavy drinker. These two issues would be a huge red flag in a home study. A person would have to show that any mental illness is well controlled and that any addiction has been treated successfully BEFORE a vulnerable child is placed for adoption.

    Those of us who have adopted children often complain of the unfairness of it all. We have to be squeaky clean, up-standing citizens while anyone doing meth/crack/heroin can get pregnant. As a society, we can't have it any other way, though, as our states are the child's legal parent until placement in an adoptive home. Sadly, Mr. Roberson has besmirched the wonderful work of hundreds of thousands of adoptive Dads raising unique and special children.

    I don't think we've heard the entire story yet. I would imagine, however, that the powers to be are very busy this holiday weekend in the age old practice of CTBs. I'll keep you posted if I learn any new information. Thank you for allowing me to expound on this topic. It's near and dear to my heart. The outcome of this case, will be no doubt inform policy--as it should!!

  12. #12
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    He pleaded guilty to child molestation as a class A felony and was sentenced to 40 years.

    From the June 2011 appeal:

    At the conclusion of plea negotiations, Roberson pleaded guilty to child molesting as a
    Class A felony. In exchange, the State dismissed two counts of sexual misconduct with a
    minor, one charged as a Class B felony and the other as a Class C felony, and one count of
    Class B felony incest. The plea agreement provided for a cap of forty years executed in the
    Indiana Department of Correction...

    Roberson, who was born in 1962, is the biological uncle and adoptive father of the victim, who was born in 1992
    Roberson argues that his forty-year sentence is inappropriate because he was a former
    victim of abuse and suffers from depression and schizophrenia. He argues that, while the trial court accorded some mitigating weight to his mental illness, the forty-year sentence was
    inappropriate in light of his mental illness...

    In the present case, the trial court identified as mitigating factors Roberson’s guilty
    plea, mental illness, and abuse as a child. The trial court found that the violation of
    Roberson’s position of trust with the victim, his biological niece and adopted daughter, in
    addition to his criminal history, need for rehabilitative treatment, and his failure to respond to
    more lenient treatment through the judicial system, as aggravating factors....

    We conclude that Roberson’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the
    offense and the character of the offender.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...NtyEB6tqWNuh4g



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