Invisible Children

Children of Martin and Kathleen O’Brien

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

Six children, ages 9 to 17, were abused by their adoptive parents, Martin and Kathleen O’Brien. Some of the children were homeschooled. The O’Briens’ three biological children (an adult daughter, Diane, and two minor sons) were forced to participate in torturing their siblings.

Four of the children were biological siblings from Russia and two of them were from Guatemala. Following the children’s adoption in 2004, they were subjected to 7 years of abuse, including: being stabbed, sprayed with pepper spray, kicked in the groin, strangled, slapped, forced to stand naked outside in the cold while their family ate dinner inside, deprived of food, imprisoned in a room for days, and forced to kneel for hours on sharp rocks.

The abuse came to light when the children reported it to social services in August 2011. The O’Briens were each charged with 10 counts of felony child abuse as well as several misdemeanors.

Date: August 3, 2011
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Documents: Date:
State of Wisconsin vs Kathleen O’Brien and Martin O’Brien (complaint) 2012-05-16
Complaint: Lake Geneva parents stabbed, pepper sprayed children 2012-05-19
Walworth County couple faces 17 charges including child abuse 2012-05-21
Couple facing 17 charges for allegedly abusing adopted children 2012-05-21
More Russian children tortured in US 2012-06-06
US couple on trial for abusing adopted Russian kids 2012-07-07
Walworth County couple accused of hitting, stabbing, using pepper spray on kids 2012-07-31
Abuse charges against Walworth County couple bring international attention 2012-08-01
U.S. Foster Parents Charged Over Abuse of Russian Children 2012-08-01
Russia to tighten adoption rules after Wisconsin abuse case 2012-08-02
Bloomfield couple pleads not guilty to child abuse charges 2012-09-19
Couple plead not guilty in Walworth abuse case 2012-09-19
Abuse suspects plead not guilty 2012-09-20
Judge delays Lake Geneva child abuse case 2012-11-23
Over 100,000 American orphans seek American love and care 2013-01-11
TFR promises to punish those responsible for the deaths of Americans orphans from Russia 2013-02-21
Six children adopted by Martin and Kathleen O’Brien
Case of Lake Geneva couple accused of abusing children cited in Supreme Court case 01-18-2014