Parents Are Blamed for Daughters’ Fall

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 13, 1913

Girls of Fourteen and Sixteen Tell Recorder Revolting Stories of Vice.

After relating a revolting tale of a career of vice on the streets and in the suburbs of Atlanta, Dora Rothstein and Corinne Wilson, two girls aged 14 and 16 years, stood unabashed in the recorder’s court Saturday afternoon.

Recorder Pro Tem Preston, shocked by their testimony, called for the parents of the prisoners.

Two aged men and a woman stepped forward and stood before the judge. They were Mr. and Mrs. A. Rothstein, parents of the younger girl, and W.B. Engesser, father of the Wilson girl.

Parents Asked to Explain.

“It is up to you,” said the recorder pro tem., “to explain to this court why you have such shameful lives. It is a disgrace to the home of anyone. These girls are no more than children. And yet they have gone upon the streets. Why?”

Rothstein said that he and his wife had been unable to control the headstrong girl and that although they had striven to raise her righteously their efforts had been in vain. They were powerless, he said, to keep her at home and force her to abide by their orders.

Engesser said that the Wilson girl had married a youth of 20, less than six months ago, and after having been deserted by her husband, turned to a wayward life. He had endeavored to raise her at home, and once went even so far as to send her to the House of the Good Shepherd in Cincinnati.

The two girls were arrested a night or so ago upon the request of A. Rothstein, who said she had run away from home. They told Chief Beavers a story of their crimson life that resulted in a number of arrests, two of whom, W.W. Suttles and C.A. Dollar, were tried in police court at the same time as their accusers.

Two Men Implicated.

They also implicated two other men, one of whom is a physician, and both of whom have disappeared. The police have been unable to find them to make the arrests ordered by Chief Beavers. For six days they plied their trade together, having become companions when the Rothstein girl left home this last time.

Without hesitancy both girls told the judge their stories. Twice, they had slept in the open in Ponce de Leon park, the first night near the skating rink and the second in the tennis court. Once they slept near an old mill in Campbell county, where they had gone in a surrey with Dollar and Suttles.

Much of their testimony was unprintable.

J.H. Leavitt, an attorney connected with the case, told the record pro tem that the home life of the girls was to a large degree directly responsible. “It can all be traced to the fireside,” he said.

Miss Margaret Lang, a well-known settlement worker, offered to install both girls in some house of correction. The Rothstein girl was turned over to the juvenile courts, and the Wilson girl will probably be sent to the House of the Good Shepherd.

Dollar and Suttles were bound over under a charge of furnishing intoxicants to minors, it having developed during the trial that they had given beer to both girls while on the trip to Campbell county.

New activity was noted in the police vice war Saturday at noon, when policemen swooped down upon the lodging house of Lula Bell at 164 1-2 Peters street, arresting three women, Maud Wilson, Mrs. Lee Berkstein, the Bell woman and one man, L.W. Berkstein.

The prisoners were carried to police headquarters and will be tried Monday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock. All later gave bond.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 13th 1913, “Parents Are Blamed for Daughters’ Fall,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)