Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Mother on trial in AIDS case

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The mother of a Butler County teen-ager who got AIDS after being raped by his uncle seemed more concerned about her family's reputation and safety if the news got out than she was about her son's medical condition, witnesses testified Monday.

        The trial of the Middletown mother, who has been indicted on charges of obstructing justice and endangering children, began Mon day in the courtroom of Judge Michael Sage in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

        The trial is expected to end today.

        The mother's name is being withheld to protect the boy's identity.

        Middletown Detective Frederick Shumake testified that the mother told him she was concerned about her family's being stigmatized and potential harm to her brother, who pleaded guilty in March to one count of rape and one count of felonious assault.

        “She specifically asked (another) detective if this would all appear in the newspaper,” Detective Shumake said.

        Lisa Campbell, a social worker at Children's Hospital Medical Center, testified that she and another social worker met with the mother after her son said he was sexually assaulted by the uncle.

        “She said at that time she didn't think (her brother) had done anything with (her son),” Ms. Campbell said.

        Ms. Campbell also said the Middletown woman was afraid that if the news became public her four children would be ordered to go live with their father in Idaho. The two are separated.

        Robert Barker, a social worker for Butler County Children Services, said the mother threatened to remove her son from Children's Hospital if investigators did anything to upset her son.

        He said the mother feared that her children might blame themselves if the uncle followed through on threats to commit suicide.

        Detective Shumake said despite a subpoena, the uncle cannot testify in the trial because he is very ill.

        The boy, 13 when the uncle was sentenced last year, is in temporary custody of a maternal aunt and is receiving medical care.

        The uncle, who was 40 in March, told police he tested positive for HIV in 1988. He has been accused of raping the boy in 1997, 1998 and 1999, but he pleaded guilty only to the 1997 rape. The other rape charges were dropped.


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