By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 3, 2002
WHEATON, ILLINOIS--Concerned neighbors have helped put two foster parents in jail after accidentally witnessing the couple beat their 15-year-old foster son -- and capturing it on video-tape.
Frank Barney, 49, and Marylynnette Barney, 38, were charged Tuesday with two felony counts of aggravated battery and one count of criminal neglect of a disabled person. If they are convicted they could face up to 10 years in prison. They were each ordered held on $500,000 bond.
The youth, whom authorities identified only as "J.M." and described as having "an IQ of 45", was treated Monday at a local hospital and was placed in protective custody. Prosecutors say he suffered bruises and lacerations on his face, arms and buttocks, as well as a possible fractured cheek. He also had signs of earlier bruises and even calluses on his buttocks.
The Barneys had installed a wireless video camera in the teen's room to monitor his behavior. Their neighbors recently installed their own security system, complete with a wireless video camera. The neighbors' camera apparently operated on the same signal as the Barney's camera.
The images the neighbors saw coming from the Barney home were shocking, so they decided to record them on video-tape. The neighbors turned the tapes over to police on Monday.
Those tapes reportedly showed at least two separate beatings. The most recent beating took place over the past weekend. During that incident, Frank Barney is seen repeatedly beating the teen's bare buttocks with a two-foot long stick and punching him in the face -- punishing him for taking a hot dog without permission.
The teen had lived with the Barneys since July 1999 according to officials with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The agency investigated one complaint against them last November, but decided it was unfounded.