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Father of caged children leaves jail

March 21, 2011 at 12:24 PM

NELSONVILLE, Ohio, March 21 (UPI) -- A Wakeman, Ohio, man who locked some of his 11 adopted and foster special needs children in cages was freed Monday after two years in prison, officials said.

Michael Gravelle was released from the Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville around 9 a.m., WTAM-AM radio in Cleveland reported.

Gravelle's estranged wife, Sharen, was released Wednesday from the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland, The Sandusky (Ohio) Register reported. Both now begin three years of probation for their child-endangerment and abuse convictions.

The case began in 2005 when social workers took away the Gravelles' adopted and foster children after an abuse investigation. The children ranged from 1 to 14 years old.

Some of the children were kept in enclosure beds with alarms and subjected to other cruel "discipline," court records state.

Sharen Gravelle testified they built the cages to keep the children from wandering off in the night.

At least two of the children are now suing the Gravelles while also seeking compensation from Hamilton County, Adopt America Network, their social workers and Fairhaven Counseling, the Register reported.

Huron County last year awarded a $1.2 million settlement to be split among the 11 children, depending on their needs and the severity of their abuse.

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