An Orlando doctor came to the defense of her husband Friday, saying his arrest on child-abuse charges threatens to tear apart the life the couple have created for their five young children, including four adoptees from Guatemala.
Brian Kloosterman "is a wonderful and dedicated father, a stay-at-home dad who could never intentionally hurt anyone," Dr. Stephanie Schreiner wrote in a statement released to the Orlando Sentinel.
Kloosterman's arrest on a child-abuse charge early Tuesday, hours after a nanny summoned Orlando police, was the second allegation of child abuse against the 33-year-old father in less than a year.
"The enormous stress of this 2007 investigation and the eight months of living under suspicion and unfair intrusion into their family life created considerable stress and took its toll on Brian," wrote lawyer Rajan Joshi of the NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Barker and Joshi law firm, representing Kloosterman. "Even with this, he was the primary caregiver for his five children, ages 5 months through 3 and one half years."
Former nanny Cynthia Velez told Orlando police that while watching one of the surveillance monitors in the $1.6 million home, she spotted Kloosterman throwing underwear at his oldest son and then restraining the screaming child by pinning him to the bed, according to police reports. She taped the activity on the monitor using her cell phone and turned it over to police.
"The video is graphic, but also misleading," the statement read. "Brian never intentionally hurt his son. This is an isolated, one minute event that did not physically harm their little boy."
Kloosterman is a stay-at-home dad who raised the children in the family's 6,700-square-foot Delaney Park home while his wife works as a pathologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
'He feels the pain'
"All of the children miss their father and he feels the pain of being separated from them," the statement said. The 3-year-old, the child Kloosterman is accused of abusing most recently, has been calling out for "his daddy," the parents said in the statement.
The children are back at home now, with a "caregiver," Joshi said. Schreiner must be supervised when around the children, and Kloosterman is forbidden from seeing them. He was released from jail on $1,000 bail Wednesday night and faces one charge of child abuse. If convicted, he could go to prison for up to five years.
On Wednesday, the family pediatrician examined all five children for signs of abuse and found they were in good health and uninjured, the parents said. Their 18-month-old daughter had a small cut on her shoulder, said Mark O'Mara, another lawyer representing Kloosterman.
Girl's illness under review
This is the second time the couple are fighting to clear Kloosterman's name.
In August, health officials alerted the Department of Children and Families to possible abuse when the couple's newly adopted 9-month-old daughter was rushed to the hospital with a 106.8-degree temperature and a urinary-tract infection. The girl, who had only been with the family for a few weeks, was dehydrated and suffered a stroke, causing her to become slightly disabled. The parents said they did not cause this.
Law-enforcement and DCF officials began investigating whether Kloosterman shook the child and caused the injuries. DCF's investigation was closed after it found insufficient evidence.
Police turned the case over to the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office in January. Prosecutors are waiting for more information to determine what -- if any -- charges will be filed in that case, said spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier.
On Thursday, prosecutors received the second case from police. They will review both before making a charging decision, Tavernier said.
The couple's first child died five days after birth. Faced with the possibility of never having more biological children, the couple turned to adoption.
They would have had to undergo a home study and complete extensive paperwork that would allow them to adopt out of the country, according to Sue Hedberg, executive director of Celebrate Children International. The Oviedo agency, which specializes in international adoptions, would not confirm or deny whether the family used its services. But the family's attorneys on Friday identified it as the agency.
The couple first tried adopting in China, but it didn't work out. They then tried another agency, which helped them find children in Guatemala.
They brought home their first children, two infant boys, in early 2006. The experience was such a success, the couple traveled again to Guatemala and "fell in love" with two other children. In late 2006, the couple began the process that would add another boy and baby girl to their family.
"We are a very close couple who mutually support each other and want only the best for each of our children," Kloosterman said in the statement. "We turned to adoption and it's been a wonderful and challenging time."
While waiting for their baby girl to arrive in the U.S., Schreiner found out she was pregnant. Five months ago, she gave birth to a healthy girl, their fifth child.
Former nanny Alice Martin described Kloosterman as a loving father who engaged the children. She joined the family after the August incident, when a judge ordered Kloosterman to have only supervised contact with his children.
Martin contested what Velez, the family's most recent nanny, told police earlier this week about why she left the family. Martin denied ever seeing Kloosterman abuse the children and said she left on good terms in January because the family needed a Spanish-speaking nanny.
"Brian was always an attentive, normal, loving father," Martin said. "They don't fit the format of an abusive family."