Altamonte Springs adoptive mom enters child-abuse plea – Children spanked and starved
By Rene Stutzman
Orlando Sentinel, June 22, 2011



Dwayne and Pamela Hardy
The stay-at-home Altamonte Springs mother accused of starving her two adoptive children and spanking them until they bled pleaded no contest Wednesday to abusing and neglecting them.

Pamela Hardy, 47, a church-going, God-loving mother who homeschooled the children, faces a minimum of 11 years in prison and a maximum of 70, according to prosecutors.

She got no plea deal, according to Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons. Last week, the defendant's husband, Dwayne Hardy, 50, was convicted by a Seminole County jury of two counts of child neglect.

She faced harsher charges: two counts of aggravated child abuse plus two counts of child neglect.

Husband and wife are to be sentenced Aug. 1 by Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler. Text CASEY to 43886 for Casey Anthony alerts

According to testimony at her husband's trial, Pamela Hardy was the primary abuser. The couple had raised four biological children and had adopted another boy about a decade ago.

But last summer, Pamela Hardy met a darling, bubbly 6-year-old girl at vacation Bible school. The child had a 10-year-old brother, and they were living in a foster home. The Hardys decided to adopt both.

Each child, though, had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ran out of medication, and the Hardys never bought more.

The children testified at Dwayne Hardy's trial that "Miss Pam" was the chief disciplinarian and spanked them bare bottomed with a wooden paddle, leaving life-long scars.

The children have dark skin, but photos revealed their bottoms had been so damaged, each no longer had skin pigment over the right cheek.

Those same photos showed red scars or scabs on their bottoms recent wounds.

The children also testified that Miss Pam sometimes spanked the palms of their hands with a wooden or metal spoon. Photos of the boy's hands showed them covered with red gashes.

The boy also testified that if he forgot to feed the dog or somehow misbehaved, Miss Pam often denied him meals.

Both children told investigators they were so hungry they sometimes pulled food from the garbage pail.

rstutzman@tribune.com or 407-650-3694.



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