There appear to be more victims of Dr. Daryl Steiner's false accusations of child abuse ["Guilty Until Proven Innocent," April 19]. After reading last week's cover story, Sue Milton called to say "the exact same thing happened to me and my granddaughter."
In 1998, Milton's daughter Latesia gave premature birth to a beautiful baby girl, who spent her first month of life at Rainbow Babies being treated for everything from jaundice to an inability to eat.
The day Tahjanae came home, Latesia, a Kent State nursing student at the time, knew something still wasn't right when she noticed unusual spots in the baby's eye. She took Tahjanae to the emergency room.
Doctors said she was fine, but Latesia insisted on more tests. A CAT scan revealed that the lining of Tahjanae's brain was bleeding. Steiner immediately diagnosed her with shaken baby syndrome.
"Dr. Steiner said she had multiple skull fractures and cranial bleeding, and that the only answer was abuse," Milton says. "He said the injury was so bad, it was as if someone ran over her in a Mack truck. And I was looking at that baby, thinking to myself why there weren't any marks on her. And you know what he tells me? He says it's because black folks don't bruise on the outside . . . I couldn't believe my ears."
Tahjanae was immediately placed in foster care, along with her five-year-old brother. For the next two years, Milton and her daughter fought to get them back, but a judge even denied the chance to get a second opinion.
Finally, a Portage County judge ruled that there was no evidence of abuse. Tahjanae was returned to her family. But Milton says the damage was already done. "I can't believe that after all these years, [Dr. Steiner] is still saying the very same thing to other families. Do you know what I'm still going through trying to get these kids straightened out because of all of this?"
Forest City has been repeatedly accused of buying its way to sweetheart deals in Cleveland. Now it's taking its game to New Mexico.
The Associated Press reports that New Mexico Governor and presidential aspirant Bill Richardson has received about $150,000 in campaign contributions over the last two years from a Forest City subsidiary. The company just happens to be developing a massive real-estate complex in Albuquerque and needed Richardson's help in passing bond legislation for streets and other infrastructure at the site.
Apparently, Richardson was priced to move. Earlier this month, he signed the bill that kicks out $500 million in taxpayer-subsidized bonds.
Thanks to New Mexico's lax campaign laws, Forest City's purchase was perfectly legal -- it even came equipped with free trips on the company's private jet. That's what frustrates guys like Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics in D.C., which tracks political-influence peddling.
"Sometimes it's the legal stuff that will shock you the most," he says. "I think it's hard for regular people to understand how someone could give hundreds of thousands of dollars and not expect something in return. How many times do you pay someone and get nothing back for it?"
Forest City's Sam Miller refuses to talk to Scene, and a call to Richardson's office was never returned. But it appears this is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Forest City has already donated $20,100 to Richardson's presidential campaign. Consider it a tip.
What would O'Brien do?
In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, everyone's looking for someone to blame. But to Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien, the answer is simple: Those wussie college kids should have stood up and fought!
O'Brien, who once courageously staved off a mosquito attack in his cubicle, just couldn't understand why students were so afraid of some asshole who was randomly executing people. In his column, "Kids, it's OK to fight back," O'Brien wrote, "What you tell your kids is up to you, but if mine were ever in that situation, I'd want them on their feet, resisting evil, not on their knees for a madman's sick gratification."
O'Brien's kids responded by saying, "F* that! I'll be under the desk!"
Look for upcoming columns in the What Would Kevin O'Brien Do? series, including "The Titanic: Look out for that iceberg, dipshit!"; "The Holocaust: If I could travel back in time, I'd poison Hitler's wienerschnitzel"; and "The George Foreman Grill: I thought of that 20 years ago."
The Godly Bishop, Part II
Earlier this year, Punch relayed a touching story about the time Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon called a Boston filmmaker "a sad little man" for investigating his brother's molestation case, and assured him that the tragedy was "all in your head" ["The Godly Bishop," First Punch, January 31].
The incident -- we'll call it Dickgate -- happened before Lennon came to Cleveland, so we considered giving the bishop a pass. We'd be ornery too if we had to watch the Celtics.
But it turns out Lennon was able to squeeze that trademark lack of compassion into his suitcase after all.
Regina Scolaro sued the Cleveland Diocese in 2002, claiming she was molested in the 1980s by Reverend Donald Rooney. Rooney was later indicted and sort of tipped his hand by killing himself shortly thereafter. But the statute of limitations was up by the time Scolaro filed suit.
Not long after her final appeal was denied, she got a letter from Jones Day, the firm representing the diocese. The church had been paying for Scolaro's therapy while the lawsuit dragged on. But now that Lennon no longer needed to appear as though he cared, the diocese halted payments.
"You perhaps may not be aware," the letter went on, "but Ms. Scolaro's lawsuit against the diocese is now entirely concluded." Shockingly, her lawyers were aware of this minor development.
So was Scolaro.
"It's over," she tells Punch from San Francisco, where she now lives. "And the minute it was over they said, 'We're not even going to pay for their therapy bills anymore.' It validates the fact that they have absolutely no compassion, and they don't comprehend the effect that it has on us. As soon as they can legally wash their hands of us, they did."