George Harasz and Douglas Wirth had been raising nine adopted boys along with two of Harasz’s biological children when two years ago, two of the boys accused them of sexual assault. The other children in their home denied the abuse, but were subsequently removed from the couple’s care.
Harasz and Wirth initially entered pleas in January to one felony count each of risk of injury to a minor, agreeing to suspended prison sentences. But on Friday, one of the victims made new allegations of abuse during a pre-sentence investigation, prompting the couple to withdraw their plea deal and seek to clear their names.
The Hartford Courant reports:
The new allegations of abuse revealed in the pre-sentence investigation are “dramatically different and more extreme,” the judge said.
“[The son said] he has scars from being held down and raped and that those injuries were inflicted by a weapon,” Zagaja said, quoting the report…
[Department of Children and Families] Commissioner Joette Katz, who was also in court, said the new allegation would immediately be referred for investigation. She also revealed that three of five younger children the couple adopted have alleged abuse by Wirth and Harasz to counselors.
Although the sentencing did not proceed, one of the alleged teenage victims spoke and urged that Wirth and Harasz be jailed. He said the physical, psychological and sexual abuse began when he was 6 years old. Wirth and Harasz would touch him and violate him, he said, and would make him satisfy them sexually. The alleged victim — the same one who made the new allegations — said Harasz and Wirth abused him when no one else was around.
“They took turns raping me over and over,” he said. “Anyone who would do this to a child is a sick, demented person.”
Several others spoke out in support of Harasz and Wirth, including the biological brother of two of the alleged victims.
Carlos Harasz said his brothers were lying and that the abuse they described had been at the hands of other foster parents. He maintained that the couple did not abuse him and his brothers, but rather gave them a “normal, painless life” after years of being abused and neglected by other foster families as well as their own mother.
He went on to ask why it took three incidents to get him removed from his mother’s home, but only “one statement from a disturbed kid to kill the souls of Doug and George.” Carlos Harasz said that the DCF was “played by my brothers” and “took the word of an angry, damaged, disturbed boy and destroyed a family.”
The couples lawyers plan to present evidence — such as school reports that outline lying by the accusers and hallucinations on the part of one of the victims — and testimony by therapists that would undercut the allegations the brothers have made.
Judge Joan K. Alexander said the DCF had been actively involved in the family, had investigated allegations of abuse — sustaining one — although the agency had departed from its own rules by allowing Harasz and Wirth to adopt so many children.
Alexander ordered the parties back in court on June 5 to allow police time to investigate the new allegations and report to prosecutors. The trial will determine if the previous complaints were true and if the DCF had been incompetent.
(h/t: Gay Star News)