Six children, ages 9 to 17, were abused by their adoptive parents, Martin and Kathleen O’Brien. Some of the children were homeschooled. The O’Briens’ three biological children (an adult daughter, Diane, and two minor sons) were not abused and were sometimes forced to participate in the abuse.
Four of the children were biological siblings from Russia and two of them were from Guatemala. Following the children’s adoption in 2004, they were subjected to 7 years of abuse, including: being stabbed, sprayed with pepper spray, kicked in the groin, strangled, slapped, forced to stand naked outside in the cold while their family ate dinner inside, deprived of food, imprisoned in a room for days, and forced to kneel for hours on sharp rocks.
The abuse came to light when the children reported it to social services in August 2011. The O’Briens were each charged with 10 counts of felony child abuse as well as several misdemeanors.
Date: August 3, 2011
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin