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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