Sexual Abuse Allegations Not First at County Home

Dayton Daily News

July 16, 2008

Third time in eight years at least one employee at Mid-Western Children's Home has been charged.

For the third time in eight years, an employee at a church group home faces allegations of having sex with a Butler County child living at the home in southern Warren County.

On Monday, July 14, Carolynn K. Hatcher, 25, was indicted by a grand jury in Lebanon on six counts of sexual battery. She is pregnant after reportedly having a two-month-long affair with a 16-year-old Middletown boy sent by Butler County Childrens Services to Mid-Western Children's Home in Pleasant Plain, according to police and court records.

"I think she thought she was in love with him," Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said Tuesday, July 15.

Group home administrator Barry Boverie on Monday called the abuse an "isolated" incident in Mid-Western Children's 41-year history.

However, in 2000, a former preacher and teacher at the group home was sentenced in Warren County Common Pleas Court to five years in prison and labeled a sexual predator for the rest of his life for the 1993 rape of a 12-year-old boy staying at the group home.

The preacher, Roy N. Puckelwartz, then 44, and his wife managed the youth home at the time. Puckelwartz pleaded no contest to one rape charge and served four years in prison; he now lives in Florida, according to the Ohio Department of Corrections.

And in fall 2000, a man and his wife were fired after the agency substantiated complaints that a 14-year-old girl was sexually abused at the facility, said Butler County Children Services Director Michael Fox. A Warren County grand jury did not return an indictment in the case because of lack of evidence, he said.

Also Tuesday, the boy Hatcher is accused of molesting who had been missing since Sunday was found safe at his grandparents' home in Middletown. His grandmother on Tuesday said the teen was "fine," but declined further comment.

Fox said the facility followed proper procedure in responding to the Hatcher case and there's no evidence proper oversight wasn't followed.

"That's three too many (cases)," Fox said, "and that's not acceptable. But is there something about that facility that puts kids at unusual risk? We're trying to find out now."


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