15 Apr


Today OPRAH interviewed Clayton, who is now a young vibrant 19-year-old.  But when he was only 6-years-old, his torture at the hands of his parents made national news.

Back in 1999, Clayton was severely abused by his parents who chained him in a closet and did unthinkable things to him for several months. The small child was starved, beaten, fed soap, and tortured at the hands of his dad and stepmother. Details of his abuse were outlined during his compelling interview with Oprah. Clayton was also reunited with the officer who rescued him long ago.

Clayton was rescued by an incredible officer, Deputy Todd Pate, over 13-years ago when his gut told him something was terribly wrong.  The officer was smart enough to know the social worker who visited the home, reporting all was fine, was horribly mistaken.  At the time officer Pate was only 28-years-old, but had the insight to go with his instinct, which is amazing.  When the step-sister of the small boy ran away, officer Pate asked the parents to pick her up, knowing they would bring their little boy.  The trap worked and he was able to obtain details of the abuse from the child and quickly arrested the parents.

It is unbelievable that the after all the torture Clayton had to endure, the parents were given mild sentences.  The parents Joseph and Carmen Grad, only served a small portion of their sentence in jail. The father spent only 21 months of his 4 year sentence in jail and the stepmother did even less time.  If this had happened now, they would have received a much tougher penalty.

What a sad story of abuse and torture of an innocent child.  It is hard to believe the state of mind someone has to be in, to harm a child especially at this level.  At that age, there is clearly no reason on earth that he could have done anything at all, to deserve such abuse.

It was disturbing to hear his story, but hopefully it will allow others in similar situations to speak out and get help.  We know children are tortured and abused every day. Maybe others will look for abuse happening in their community and report it…better safe than sorry.

Hats off to the officer for doing the right thing and digging deeper to save him. Hats off to Clayton for sharing his story to help others.  Hats off to the family member who adopted him.  Hats off to Oprah for allowing him to speak.

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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in HEADLINE NEWS


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  1. Chrystal

    April 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    why in the world would someone do that to a poor child that can’t do anything about it!? His “father” should be locked up for good along with he step-mother!

    • yoshida

      April 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

      after seeing the oprah show last night, that poor little boy was treated worse then an animal. i wish those people who tortured him would have got more time in prison then just 4 years

      • Elizabeth Rohrer

        April 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm

        It’s just not fair. I can’t believe someone would do that. 😦

  2. Rsturkie

    April 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Clayton is a true example of a Super Hero. To have so much bad happen at a young age and to turn that into good is such a powerful example of grace and dignity. Clayton, you are a remarkable man and my heart and prayers go out to you and your future.

  3. Keely

    April 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Todd Pate, this man is a true hero. He not only let this boy speak, but he went about it in a way to enable him. He didnt force answers out of this young boy and he went about in a way with respect. I truly believe this story is remarkable and this man deserves an award of honor. I give my utmost respect to him.

  4. lidia

    April 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I was truly moved by this story , who wouldnt be? Im so impressed by Clayton and his courage ……. I m wondering what ever happened to the 14 yr old step sister? It had to be emotional abuse just watching something like that happen for anyone…… let alone a 14 yr old . Im glad she told officer pate.

  5. gina

    April 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Just finished watching the OPrah show. Oh my, i wish Clayton and his sister God’s Blessings and healings. I’m surprised Oprah didn’t mention Clayton’s step-sister’s current status. I’m wondering how she is doing….

  6. Wes

    April 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I am watching this interview as I type and cant believe that the parents were sentenced to anything less than 25 to life!

    Like stated above, I hope that in this day and age the time will ACTUALLY fit the crime.

    Congratulations Clayton, you are very strong human being.

  7. Kevin Spohn

    April 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    where the hell is this father? he needs more attention. There is NO WAY he should have ANY privacy in this matter. In no way has justice been served. What is his last name and where does he live? Thank you…

    • brittaj

      April 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      The parents names are Joseph and Carmen Grad. What sick individuals.

  8. Kevin Spohn

    April 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    this father needs to be known. what is his full name and where does he live?

  9. Susan

    April 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    This is unbelieveable sad. But, what a strong young man! Everyone could learn something from him! One question. I am going to share this story with my class. Do you know his last name? thank you

    • AMR

      April 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Both of them are using new names, Joseph Clemons and Carmen Quaife. Their former lastname was Grad. Joseph Grad took his new lastname from a woman named Angela Clemons, who he married while in prision.

      • brittaj

        April 17, 2011 at 1:11 am

        Thanks…everyone is asking!

  10. Madd-ie-cakes

    April 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    what is claytons last name? i cant imagine he would take the name of the freaks who did this to him.

    • brittaj

      April 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      Many readers have requested the last name of Clayton. I have had a hard time finding it, because when he was young they kept his name out of the media. Sorry, no luck on finding his last name on the internet yet.

    • brittaj

      April 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      No luck finding his last name in archive files. Sorry, but they probably want to keep it confidential at this point. Maybe he changed it to his new families name.

  11. paula

    April 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    sickening but the most moving thing to me is when he talked about making people aware of what is going on “I was there and then I wasn’t”. We all need to not 2nd guess ourselves or have the “I don’t want to get involved” when we know something isn’t right.

  12. Allison Groezinger

    April 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    My uncle is Sheriff Pate. I am so proud of my uncle, and what he did for this poor boy. It was so cool to see him on TV, he always talks about this boy! I’m glad to see them reunited.

    • brittaj

      April 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Allison, you should be proud of your uncle. What he did was brave, smart and beyond special. He is a great man.

  13. Allison Groezinger

    April 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

    That he is. My uncle Todd is a living hero. He says there’s not a day that going by that he doesn’t think about Clayton. This boy has risen to so much through it all, he is so strong!

    • J P

      April 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Allison, please tell your uncle to let Clayton know about a therapy called EMDR… it is used for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer from PTSD. It allows them to forever be free from “triggers” and residual effects of trauma that can come back to haunt people. It truly is a miracle, and if anyone deserves to be free of past pain, that boy does.

  14. Kelly Keniston

    April 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I hope your uncle will mentor Clayton as he strives to become a police officer.

  15. sims bulluck

    April 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Do you know what happened to clayton’s sister? Is he in contact with her?

  16. sims bulluck

    April 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Would love to know what happened to the sister- they didn’t really talk much about her in the interview

    • brittaj

      April 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Sims, in researching this information there was nothing I could find. I also was surprised they did not discuss her during the interview. Maybe she wanted to be kept out of the media. Sorry I could not assist.

  17. Tasneem

    April 27, 2011 at 1:44 am

    i was emotionelly moved after seeing this episode,..clayton is really a great hero just being there and going with life, i cant imagine how the father and stepmother were even able to do this to a young boy,..where are there hearts,..and i agree that this father needs to be known so everyone should be aware from him. i really hope that clayton will go on with his life knowing that we are all there to support him in all ways needed.
    Clayton,.. thank you for being courage and livly,..showing the world thats there shouldnt be anything to stop us from living on… i admire you courage

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