Franklin Park Couple to Stand Trial in Abuse Case Involving Adopted Children

Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Douglas Barbour, 33, and his wife, Kristen Barbour, 30, appear at a preliminary hearing.

A Franklin Park couple has been ordered to stand trial after waiving a preliminary hearing today (Thursday) on charges of abusing and starving two children they adopted from Ethiopia nearly a year ago. 

Prosecutors dropped two aggravated assault charges against Douglas Barbour, 33, who appeared in Leetsdale District Court alongside  for a preliminary hearing.

Douglas Barbour, a Pennsylvania deputy attorney general, has been suspended from his state job without pay since he and his wife were arrested Oct. 4. He'll stand trial on two counts each of simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment. 

Kristen Barbour will stand trial on one count of simple assault and two counts each of reckless endangerment and aggravated assault. 

According to a criminal complaint, the Barbours are accused of starving their adopted son and forcing him to stay in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time. The boy, who was 6 at the time the Barbours were arrested, developed lesions from that treatment, according to investigators.

Their adopted daughter, who was 18 months old at the time the Barbours were arrested, will likely remain permanently blind in one eye and paralyzed after suffering abusive head trauma, according to the complaint. 

A doctor determined the girl had suffered multiple hemorrhages, fractures and injuries to both eyes and had been a victim of physical abuse, including abusive head trauma, the complaint states.

Neither husband nor wife spoke in the courtroom, and they did not comment as they left court. 

A Nov. 19 preliminary hearing for the couple was postponed until this month.

The Barbour's defense attorney, Charles Porter, previously told Patch the Barbours dispute the allegations against them. 

Dr. Rachel Berger, who examined the children after they were taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, recommended that the Barbours be barred from contact with the adopted boy. She also determined that the adopted girl should not be returned to the Barbours' home, police said in the complaint. 

Porter said the couple has had supervised visits with their biological children, ages 2 and 4, since their arrests, but do not have custody of those children.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled in October that the Barbours would be permitted supervised visitation with their biological children, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

Porter said the couple has not seen their two adopted children.

“We’re still trying,” Porter said.

A formal arraignment is scheduled for March 7.


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