Roberta And Joseph Shane Plead Not Guilty To Charges In Mental Child Abuse Case
A former Casper High School librarian and her husband have entered a plea in court, in a case where they are both accused of mistreating one of their adopted children.
Roberta Shane has pleaded not guilty to one felony count of child abuse by mental injury, and one misdemeanor count of child endangering, while Joseph Shane has been pleaded not guilty to one felony count of aiding or abetting child abuse and one misdemeanor count of child endangering.
Through interviews with a school social worker, investigators with the Casper Police Department say from May 2012 through April 2014, the now 11-year old victim had been punished in inappropriate ways.
They included sleeping on a cot smaller than her in a laundry room, only being allowed to wear certain types of clothes when in trouble, and being locked in the garage when the rest of the family leaves the house.
The victim added that when in the garage, she would given a roll of toilet paper and if she needed to use the bathroom, she would have to go use a tree in the backyard, since the door from the garage to the house was locked.
There were also questions regarding food allergies, which raised suspicion of possible malnourishment.
School officials later noticed during a 13-month time frame, that the victim had lost eight pounds, while growing one-and-one-half inches taller.
They also noticed her clothes did not fit and did not appear clean.
There were also concerns with how the victim was progressing academically.
When interviewed by police, Roberta said the victim could not be trusted in the house.
Joseph said that punishments given to the victim's brothers were given to her as well, but they seemed to have no effect, hence the different treatment.
Not long after the investigation started, the Wyoming Department of Family Services received an email from Roberta, saying she and Joseph wanted to give up the victim for adoption.
A child psychiatrist told investigators the victim had been the subject of mental injury, and that it affected her self-worth, emotional and physical development, and impeded and decreased her social and emotional development.
Both Roberta and Joseph are each free on $5,000 bond awaiting trial and could each face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Roberta had been a librarian at Roosevelt High School in Casper, but the school has since severed any connections with her.
In April 2014, the victim was placed with another family, and has since shown improvements in mental development, interaction with others, and weight gain.