Concern for 4 Year Old Girl Living in Home with Convicted Child Abusers
Investigators say it happened in front of her daughter. Video by tmj4.comvideo
NEW BERLIN---Thomas and Linda Stephens were convicted for abusing several of their 16 children in 2005. The horrors that were said to have gone on inside their New Berlin home shocked the community. Despite their abuse history, child welfare officials in Waukesha County allow their granddaughter to live with them.
"We are terrified," Kathleen Griebling said.
Griebling's son Jeremy has a daughter with 30 year old Stacie Stephens. Stephens lives with her parents, who are now out of prison,and is raising her daughter inside their home. Stacie now faces legal problems of her own. Court records show New Berlin police arrested her for domestic violence and disorderly conduct for attacking her siblings while drunk in front of her four year old daughter.
"This is not right for a little four year old girl," Griebling said.
Stacie was arrested, was sent to jail, and the girl was sent to stay with her father. But Waukesha County social workers will return her to the Stephens' home this Friday, something Kathleen and her son are fighting.
"She is at alot of risk living in that home based on the grandparents history and based on the mother's drinking. But they cannot find neglect, so they are going to send her back," Griebling said.
The Stephens did not come to the door when we tried to get a comment from them about the arrest. But Jennifer Stephens, the second oldest of the 16 siblings, and who is now a child abuse advocate, wants the court system to do what's best for her niece.
'I don't care who the parent is, and who the child is. If there's a situation where a child needs protection, you have to give it. You have to protect the child," she said.
We tried to talk to Waukesha County child welfare officials about the case, but they did not return our calls. But case workers did tell Kathleen that despite Stacie's arrest, and despite the family's abuse history, her granddaughter was not abused, and has to be returned to her mother.