Police Find Starving Children During Drug Raid
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 29, 2006
COURTLAND, NEW YORK--A mother and her boyfriend are facing multiple criminal charges after a drug raid of their home led police to the woman's starving son, who has Down syndrome, and his malnourished siblings.
Judy Gratton, 48, and Joseph Kahn, 45, were arrested last Tuesday and charged with multiple criminal counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, endangering the welfare of a child, fourth-degree possession of marijuana, and second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
Police searching for illegal drugs found Harley Morgan, 5, Jodi, 11, and their brother Buddy, 12, in the couple's cockroach-infested home.
"The officers were horrified," Cortland Police Chief James Nichols told Newsday.
Harley was covered with lice and wearing dirty diapers, according to several news sources. Officials said he weighed just 15 pounds. A typical 5-year-old weighs about 40 pounds.
Neighbor Kia Matthews said that when the ambulance took Harley to a Syracuse hospital, "he looked like he had chicken legs."
"It was a disgrace," she said.
The children have been placed in foster care. Their father, Buddy Morgan, told the New York Post that he blames Child Protective Services for failing to protect his children.
"The whole agency needs to be investigated," he said.
"Mother charged in treatment of 5-year-old" (Newsday)
"We need food" (New York Post)