Friday, June 07, 2002

Actions taped; woman indicted

By Gina Holt
Enquirer contributor

        BURLINGTON - A Burlington woman indicted on a felony child abuse charge after her husband captured an incident on hidden videotape faces a pretrial hearing June 25.

        Anne Franklin, 32, is facing up to 10 years in prison after secretly being videotaped by her husband while allegedly abusing one of the couple's daughters. He turned the tape in to authorities.

Anne Franklin
Anne Franklin
        Bryan Franklin, 37, told police he kept finding unexplained bruises on his children, Maj, Jack Banks of the Boone County Sheriff's office said.

        Mr. Franklin planted a video camera in his home to find out what was happening, Maj. Banks said.

        On the tape, his 7-year-old daughter spilled a drink.

        “The mom rubbed her face in it and struck her with her fist and her feet,” said Maj. Banks.

        The 7-year-old is one of four sisters, ages 4 through 8, adopted by the Franklins about three years ago.

        “The police have a videotape that shows some misconduct,” said Mrs. Franklin's attorney, Wilbur Zevely of Florence.

        “We do not deny that. The tape is legitimate.”

        He said Mrs. Franklin, a stay-at-home mother who baby-sat other children, claims she and her husband had a good six-year marriage and doesn't understand why Mr. Franklin never approached her about the questionable bruises.

        “If you thought this was going on, why wouldn't you talk to your spouse instead of doing this?” Mr. Zevely said.

        Mr. Franklin, who filed for divorce in April and has obtained a protective order keeping his wife 1,000 feet from him and his children, made only one comment.

        “I really want to protect the privacy of my kids,” he said.

        Jack Flake, of Hebron, lived across the street from the Franklins until a few months ago.

        “From our perspective, they were a wonderful couple,” Mr. Flake said. “We always thought highly of both of them.”

        He said the adoption process was long, but the Franklins stuck with it because they wanted children so badly.

        “We were very excited (once the adoption was final) because they weren't able to have children of their own,” Mr. Flake said.

        “We were shocked when we heard what was going on,” he added. “It's hard to believe.”

        Linda Tally Smith, commonwealth's attorney for Boone and Gallatin counties, said it is a unique case.

        “This is the first time I've had a family member being caught on tape doing this type of activity,” she said.

        Mrs. Franklin was arrested on Feb. 12 and was released on bond the next day. She was indicted by the grand jury on May 28, charged with criminal abuse in the first degree.

        She will have a pretrial conference on June 25 at which all parties will try to settle without a trial.

        “Our judge requires that offers be made in every criminal case,” said Mrs. Tally Smith.

        She said most child abuse cases are misdemeanors but the nature of the abuse determines the severity of the charge.

        The children are living with Mr. Franklin.

        Trey Berlin, coordinator of parent support services for Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, said cases continue to rise in Northern Kentucky's eight counties. More than 5,600 reports of child abuse and neglect were made between July 2000 and June 2001, compared to 4,200 in 1999.

        Parents seeking help can call the parent hot line at (800) 432-925. Children being abused and anyone wanting to report abuse should call (800) 752-6200.


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