Couple gives adopted son back to county after 9 years

 Prosecutor charges parents with reckless abadonment 

By Lisa Cornwell
Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio couple who authorities say returned their 9-year-old adopted son to the county after raising him since infancy have been charged with abandoning the child.

Cleveland and Lisa Cox of Liberty Township, north of Cincinnati, were each indicted last week on a misdemeanor count of nonsupport of dependents. The charge accuses them of recklessly abandoning or failing to provide adequate support for the boy they turned over to Butler County Children Services last month.

County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he doesn’t usually seek indictments in misdemeanor cases but views this as “reckless” abandonment.

“When you are the parent and you recklessly abandon a child or children, there are criminal consequences,” Gmoser said. “These children don’t have a return-to-sender stamp emblazoned on their forehead.”

Messages left at the couple’s home in Butler County were not immediately returned. It was unclear if they had been served an arrest warrant issued Wednesday.

Children Services and the county sheriff’s office also didn’t return messages.

Adolf Olivas, an attorney appointed by the court to protect the child’s legal interests, told the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News that the parents said the boy has aggressive behaviors and would not agree to get help.

The child is hurt and confused and doesn’t understand what is happening, Olivas said.

“If your 9-year-old needs help, you get him help,” Olivas told the newspaper. “It is not a question of a 9-year-old wanting it or not.”

The Coxes could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the first-degree misdemeanor.

“These are the only parents he has ever known,” Gmoser said. “What do you think happens at night when he goes to sleep and doesn’t have his brothers around or someone to talk to he has known for nine years?”

Gmoser confirmed the Coxes have other children.

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