Ex Foster Mom’s Parenting Skills Focus At Tot’s Trial in Fatal Beating

Ex-foster mom’s parenting skills focus at trial in tot’s fatal beating
June 4, 2007

By RUBY L. BAILEY

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070604/NEWS01/70604032

A Wayne County Circuit Court jury today heard conflicting portrayals of the former Detroit foster mother charged in connection with the fatal beating and burning of 2-year-old Isaac Lethbridge, who was killed in her home on Aug. 16, 2006.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said Charlsie Adams-Rogers, 60, failed to protect the boy and his 4-year-old sister, who was with him in foster care, from being abused in her home.

“Being a parent is more than a matter of simple biology,” Lindsey said. “If you do it right, the child will survive and thrive. If you do it wrong, the consequences could be fatal. Defendant Rogers did it wrong.”
But defense attorney Warren Harris said Adams-Rogers, who retired from Chrysler after 30 years, had been a model foster parent who cared for dozens of children who came into her home from sometimes-abusive circumstances since the mid-1990s.

“There’s a lot of love being passed around in that house,” Harris said.

Police still have not charged anyone with directly causing the boy’s death. Adams-Rogers is charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of failing to protect the child while he was in her care. She also is charged with two child abuse counts involving the boy and his sister. If convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and up to 4 years on the most serious child abuse count.

Adams-Rogers has blamed her then-12-year-old adopted daughter with causing the boy’s death, and Harris reiterated that claim today in court. No one else has been charged in the case.

Isaac and his sister were removed from their parents’ home in Westland on neglect charges in September 2005. According to a Free Press investigation published in January, the two children were placed in three troubled foster homes by the Lula Belle Stewart Center of Detroit. The state suspended the center’s foster care license after Isaac’s death.

Fourteen jurors, four men and 10 women, were seated from a pool of 48. Judge Vera Massey Jones is hearing the case.

Isaac’s parents, Matt and Jennifer Lethbridge, sat quietly in the courtroom today. All 10 of their children have been placed in foster care, including a baby born this spring.

Contact RUBY L. BAILEY at 313-222-6651 or rbailey@….

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