State pays $210,000 in death of foster child

12:11 PM, Feb. 17, 2012 | Written by Tim Evans |

While not admitting any liability or wrongdoing, the state quietly paid $210,000 recently to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of Destiny Linden.

Back in 2008, we wrote about how the Indianapolis infant suffocated in a foster home where she was placed by the Indiana Department of Child Services. Destiny was placed in the home at the same time an advocate was raising concerns about the care of children provided by foster parents Kim and Everett Coleman.

The Colemans “have their priorities very confused as it relates to the safety and well-being of foster children. All children should be removed from this home.”

From report submitted April 23, 2008, by Penny Guthrie, court-appointed advocate for other children placed by DCS in Coleman home. Report filed in court to support motion to remove children from the home. DCS placed Destiny in the home April 21; she was found unconscious April 24. Investigation revealed Everett Coleman may have waited 30 minutes to call for help after finding Destiny unconscious. She died April 29.

”After all the concerns I had shared with (DCS case manager) Amanda Hodges, I was always shocked that DCS kept placing more kids and even babies there.”

The state’s payout was part of a larger $400,000 settlement in Destiny’s death. The deal also appears to have involved The Villages and former DCS foster parents Kim and Everett Coleman.

The Star obtained the settlement agreement this week through a public records request filed with the office of the Indiana Attorney General.

Foster Father Sexually Abused Two Kids In His Care

Mark Daniel Obrien, 40, has been charged with statutory sodomy, child molestation, possession of child pornography and child abuse in conjunction with two boys younger than ten. Both boys were in Obrien's custody as foster children at the time of the alleged crimes.

Obrien, of Republic, Missouri, had been active in the foster parent program for close to a decade, but is not an active parent at this time. He had protective custody of 50 children during those ten years -- all of them boys.

The two victims told adults about the abuse after leaving Obrien's care, independently of each other. The Republic Police Department
probable cause statements also note:

"(The boy) also stated that Mark had anal sex with him on multiple occasions and would videotape these acts with his video recorder."

Police did find child pornography on Obrien's computer.

Foster parent, former religious publisher charged with abusing two girls

A River Forest man who took in dozens of foster children and formerly headed Chicago Catholic Publications was ordered held in lieu of a $50 million cash bond Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting two girls.

Robert L. Gaskill, 63, molested the minors over a period between 1996 to 2009, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Gaskill, who was arrested at his home Thursday, has operated a foster care service with his wife in their three-story frame home, as well as a foster care support system called Tapestry Chicago, officials said.

He also served on the board of the River Forest Youth Soccer program and was a program coordinator in the late 1990s.

Gaskill currently works as the marketing director at Lydia Home in Chicago, a residential facility for abused children. He previously worked for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago.

Gaskill is also a former publisher of the Oak Leaves/Pioneer Press West Group, where he worked for 16 years until the mid 1980s. Following that, he was the president and publisher of Chicago Catholic Publications, which publishes the Chicago Archdiocese’s official newspaper, the New World.

In a 2009 interview with the Pioneer Press’ Forest Leaves publication, Gaskill said he and his wife had “been opening their home to foster children for about 15 years.” Many of them had disabilities of some kind.

He said he had fostered “about 75 different children over that time.”

As of three years ago, the Gaskills had 12 children, four biological, six adopted and two in foster care.

“Long before we got married, while we were dating, we both agreed we wanted to have large families,” Rob Gaskill said in the news story.

“We thought it would be fun to have a lot of children.”

New Bond Conditions for Republic Foster Father Accused of Molestation, Possessing Child Porn

Mark O'Brien ordered to wear electronic monitoring device and give up passport

Springfield, MO—

A former foster father has new conditions to follow in order to remain out of jail following a bond reduction hearing today.

Greene County judge Jason Brown denied a reduced bond for Mark O'Brien today, and ordered him to give up his passport, wear an electronic monitoring device, and said he can only use the Internet at work during normal business hours.

O'Brien is charged with five felonies, including posession of child pornography, first degree child molestation and statutory sodomy. Officials say he molested two children in his care as a foster parent, and had more than 50 foster kids over a ten year span.

U.S. Marshals finally arrested O'Brien Friday night at a residence north of Strafford after they say he repeated avoided officers. He posted $100,000 bond and was ordered to appear in court today.

Judge Brown said he would not consider lowering O'Brien's bond because US Marshals had to get involved.

Ex-foster home kids claim malaria injections

VIENNA (AP) — Hospital experts are probing claims from two former Vienna foster home residents that they were injected with the parasite that causes malaria to treat psychological disorders.

Vienna's AKH and the Vienna University clinic announced their investigation after one of the men told state broadcaster ORF he was injected with blood containing the pathogen. Another man later contacted ORF with a similar story.

The first man says he was treated at the Vienna University Clinic in 1964 after he was diagnosed with "psychopathy" as a 16-year old. He says he then contacted a high fever for two weeks and then suffered from recurring bouts of fever and shakes for years.

Neither man was identified. Bernd Kuefferle, a psychiatrist at the hospital in the 1960s, told reporters that such injections were given.

Hillsborough Kids Inc Child Welfare Caseworker Logged Visits He Didn't Make

TAMPA - A child welfare caseworker was arrested this morning and charged with 33 counts of falsifying records, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Andrew Joseph, 36, of Riverview, said he conducted face-to-face interviews for Youth and Family Alternatives, a subcontractor providing case management services, according Hillsborough Kids Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rainey.

Hillsborough Kids is a contractor for the state Department of Children & Families. Youth and Family Alternatives is a subcontractor for Hillsborough Kids, Rainey said.

Joseph falsely claimed that he conducted face-to-face interviews with children and foster parents, FDLE spokeswoman Trina Reddick said.

The investigation was sparked after Youth and Family Alternatives noticed some irregularities, Rainey said.

"As soon as it was discovered, Youth and Family Alternatives immediately notified the DCF inspector general's office," Rainey said.

Joseph, he said, had about 20 cases.

Staff and supervisors from Youth and Family Alternatives, with help from Hillsborough Kids, immediately went to see the clients to ensure that safety was not compromised, Rainey said.

There may be other workers arrested soon, Rainey said.

"We can't tolerate putting children at risk," he said. "We took every measure to ensure that would not happen. There are tons of checks-and-balances in place. This was caught, though it did happen."

Officials from Youth and Family Alternatives did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Joseph was arrested at his 13716 Gentle Woods Ave. home this morning, Geraghty said.

He was being held at Orient Road Jail. Bail was set at $25,000, according to jail records.