DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (TCD) — Four parents, including a former Department of Health and Human Services employee, face child abuse charges after allegedly adopting children for financial gain and abusing them “under the guise of discipline.”
On Monday, Dec. 4, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a total of 36 charges against Joel and Tammy Brown and Jerry and Tamal Flore. Nessel said since 2007, the suspects allegedly abused “dozens of children adopted through their homes.”
The Brown and Flore families have reportedly adopted or fostered approximately 30 children.
Joel Brown, the former state employee, worked within the Children’s Services Agency Office of Advocate for Children, Youth and Families. Nessel said he allegedly “used his expertise in the field of child abuse investigations and the Child Protection laws” to prevent getting caught.
Nessel said in a statement, “Children who end up in our foster care or adoption systems are often already coming from unbelievably vulnerable situations and deserve our utmost care.”
In a press conference, Nessel called the allegations “heinous.”
She said, “In the area of child abuse, the harms caused to an individual’s mental health are often, unfortunately, overlooked. Abusive behavior by any parents, adoptive or biological, is unacceptable and will not and cannot be tolerated.”
Joel Brown faces charges of first-degree child abuse, conspiracy to commit second-degree child abuse, third-degree child abuse, interfering with a crime report, and failure to report child abuse.
Tammy Brown was charged with first-degree child abuse, second-degree conspiracy to commit child abuse, and third-degree child abuse.
Jerry Flore faces 11 charges, including six counts of first-degree child abuse, first-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child, second-degree conspiracy to commit child abuse, two counts of second-degree child abuse, and interfering with a crime report.
Tamal Flore was charged with six counts of first-degree child abuse, first-degree child abuse committed in the presence of another child, second-degree conspiracy to commit child abuse, two counts of second-degree child abuse, six counts of third-degree child abuse, and interfering with a crime report.
The four parents were previously charged with abuse, but the charges against Tammy and Joel Brown were dismissed, and the charges against Tamal and Jerry Flore were reduced. Outstanding charges against the suspects were dropped when the investigation was reopened.
According to the Lansing State Journal, in the previous case, the four parents were accused of beating multiple children with a boat oar and forcing them to sleep in closets or on the laundry room floor. They also allegedly didn’t feed the children, threw them down stairs, and locked them in bedrooms for days at a time. The previous allegations stem from as early as 2014.
Officials collected evidence for the new investigation and spoke with 10 of the adopted children. They also interviewed Child Protective Services and employees with the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, Nessel said investigators collected photos and videos from the home, obtained records of adoption subsidy payments and medical benefits, and they recovered medical evaluations from any possible victims.
According to Nessel, authorities have obtained arrest warrants for the four parents, and they have until Friday, Dec. 8, to turn themselves in.
- Attorney General Dana Nessel Charges 4 Adoptive Parents with 36 Child Abuse Crimes, Conspiracy – Michigan Attorney General
- AG Nessel Charges 4 Adoptive Parents with 36 Child Abuse Crimes, Conspiracy – Michigan Attorney General
- Nessel: Clinton County foster, adoptive parents abused children for ‘financial gain’ – Lansing State Journal
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