Couple charged with assaulting, mistreating adopted son

Couple charged with assaulting, mistreating adopted son
Alona and Rodger Hartwig

EUGENE, Ore. – A Lane County couple once featured in a flattering newspaper article about foster parents now face assault and criminal mistreatment charges that allege they injured and neglected a boy they adopted.

Alona Lee Hartwig, 46, faces felony assault one and assault two charges and five counts of criminal mistreatment.

Rodger Hartwig, 51, faces felony assault two and two counts of criminal mistreatment.

The victim is a 9-year-old foster child the couple cared for and later adopted, according to state officials. The mistreatment is alleged to have taken place between January 2008 and the present, according to documents charging them with the crimes.

The couple are certified as foster parents, and had adopted the 9 year old. At the time when the child was injured, they did not have any foster children placed with them, said Gene Evans with the Department of Human Services.

DHS launched a critical incident response team to look into the case April 7 and has been "working with Lane County Sherriff's office and District Attorney's office on the investigation," Evans said.

The investigation started after the boy was treated for injuries at a Portland hospital. He has since been released.

"We're grateful the child is out of the hospital and is doing well," Evans said. "He's been placed with a different foster family.

"We're concerned anytime a child is adopted by a family, we want to make sure the child is safe," Evans said. "You expect a child who goes into foster care, that they're safe. We all expect that."

The assault one charge alleges Alona Hartwig did "unlawfully and intentionally cause serious physical injury ... by means of a dangerous or deadly weapon."

The criminal mistreatment charge alleges the Hartwigs had a "legal duty to provide care for ... a dependent person" and "did unlawfully and knowingly withhold necessary and adequate food, physical care or medical attention."

The assault two charge alleges the couple "unlawfully and knowingly cause serious physical injury" to the victim.

A 2005 Register-Guard newspaper article mentions the Hartwigs as foster parents caring for three foster kids and six children of their own.

This is a developing story. Watch and KVAL News for details as they become available.