‘Caged’ OH Kids Were Happy, Lawyer Says


Rainbows, giraffes and lions decorate the walls. Children grin, laugh and play. Their sleeping quarters, labeled by authorities as “cages,” have swinging doors without locks. Does this sound like a place where grownups lock away children with emotional problems? No, says David Sherman, the Westlake lawyer for a couple accused of caging their 11 adopted children, many of whom have behavior disorders.

Reporters from around the world have swarmed to the story since social workers removed the children from the Huron County home of Michael and Sharen Gravelle on Sept. 9 after a tip. Relatives and neighbors have poured forth to demonize the couple. Last week, Sherman grew fed up. “This case has been very one-sided from the beginning,” he said. The attorney provided The Plain Dealer with more than 20 photographs showing the smiling children at holidays and birthday events. Other pictures show what Sherman calls “enclosures” — wooden boxes that he says the Gravelles built around beds to protect the children from getting up at night and hurting themselves.

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