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2 Connecticut Men Plead to Lesser Charges in Abuse Case

Two men who were accused of sexually abusing their adopted children have pleaded no contest to lesser felony charges and will avoid jail time in an agreement with prosecutors.

George Harasz and Douglas Wirth, a married couple from Glastonbury, entered the pleas to charges of risk of injury to a minor on Friday in Hartford Superior Court, The Hartford Courant reports . They will receive suspended sentences on March 8.
When the men were arrested in November 2011, warrants unsealed in court said two boys, ages 5 and 15, accused Harasz, then 48, of sexually assaulting them. Wirth, then 43, was accused of lesser sexual assault of the 15-year-old and of doing nothing to stop Harasz's abuse of the teen.
Harasz was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault. Wirth was charged with a count of third-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
Some other adopted children in the home told police they didn't experience inappropriate sexual contact.
The men adopted nine children, from three sibling groups, through the state Department of Children and Families beginning in 2000. They had received waivers in 2006 and 2007 to exceed the state adoption limit.
Joette Katz, who became DCF commissioner in early 2011, said she became aware of the allegations after police began investigating in February of that year and immediately had the children removed. The arrest warrants said the previous administration had received reports from a family therapist about possible physical abuse and neglect.
Katz said DCF would improve assessments of families seeking to adopt and tighten guidelines for the waivers.

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