A US couple are accused of abandoning the adopted 9-year-old son they raised from infancy after they gave him to child welfare officials.
Cleveland Cox, 49, and Lisa Cox, 52, were charged with nonsupport of dependents. Authorities alleged the couple from Liberty Township near Middletown left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behaviour and earlier threatened the family with a knife.
The pair denied the charges and the trial was scheduled for February 10.
A defence attorney and prosecutor declined to comment after the hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, has said there are legal consequences to what he called "reckless" abandonment.
The couple were also facing a civil complaint filed by the county's children's services agency. The magistrate granted a request by the couple's attorney, Anthony VanNoy, to delay that hearing until after the criminal case is concluded.
VanNoy declined to comment afterward other than to say the cases involve "very difficult issues."
National adoption advocates say failed adoptions or dissolutions are rare in cases where the child was raised from infancy, and such discord seems to occur more often with youths adopted at an older age.
People within the adoption community say they worry about emotional trauma to the boy. They say giving up a child after so much time is rare and undermines the stability and commitment that adopted children need.
Adolfo Olivas, an attorney appointed by the court to protect the boy's interests, also declined to comment. He has said the emotionally hurt and confused child was now receiving help that the parents should have gotten for him.
The couple could face up to six months in jail and a US$1,000 fine if convicted.