Parents' lawyer: Adopted Ohio boy has gotten help

LISA CORNWELL Associated Press Published:

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) -- The attorney for a couple accused of abandoning the adopted 9-year-old son they raised since infancy said Wednesday that the boy has gotten some much-needed help and the parents have been in counseling with him.

Anthony VanNoy, attorney for Cleveland and Lisa Cox, said after a brief pretrial hearing that his clients are visiting with the boy and hope to be reunited with him. The Coxes have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of nonsupport of dependents.

VanNoy also said that the Coxes are prepared to go to trial Feb. 10 and have not sought any plea offers.

The charges allege the couple recklessly abandoned or failed to provide adequate support for the boy. Authorities say the pair, from Butler County's Liberty Township, left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife.

"The whole goal of the contact with children services has always been to get help for the child," VanNoy said Wednesday.

He says the Coxes have received many letters from families around the country who have adopted children and have experienced similar issues.

"The blessing is that there has been an awareness of people that there are families that are struggling and they need help," VanNoy said.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser wouldn't comment on specifics of the case Wednesday but said he was encouraged by VanNoy's remarks to the media.

"One always hopes in a long process such as this that there is a silver lining," Gmoser said.

Documents filed by the prosecutor say the parents didn't tell the boy when they left him with children's services that he wouldn't be returning home.

The Coxes could each face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the single count against each of them.