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Enclosed beds cause controversy

Posted 1/17/2006
By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY

Is it a cage or bed? Cruel or therapeutic? Two large families have recently been accused of child abuse, in part for putting kids in completely enclosed structures. They say they did so for the safety of the children and others in the home.

In Ohio, Michael and Sharen Gravelle abused several of their 11 adoptive children by forcing them to sleep in cagelike enclosures, a judge ruled last month in a custody hearing. A hearing today may decide whether the couple regains custody of the children, now in foster care.
In Tennessee, Debra and Tom Schmitz are charged with putting children in a metal crib — without a mattress, blanket or sheets — for sleep or punishment. Their case goes to trial Jan. 30....

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