A Massachusetts woman was arrested Sunday night after allegedly grappling with a police officer who attempted to remove her children from her home.
According to a police report obtained by the Boston Herald, the officer assisted Department of Children and Families (DCF) workers in removing three young children from the family’s alleged “squalor” home, off of East Water Street in Taunton. The agency was reportedly investigating accusations of sexual abuse and the children being kept in cages.
The police report indicated authorities accompanied DCF employees to the home of Melissa and Matthew Hope, who lived in the home with their three children, ages two, three, and one month. The investigation came after an anonymous report made to DCF claiming “neglect and abuse…sexual assault and keeping of children in cages.”
Upon their arrival to the residence, police said the couple refused to let the responders into their home.
“Melissa and Matthew (were) shouting obscenities out the window stating that the responders were not allowed in the residence without a warrant,” the police report stated.
A patrol supervisor authorized officers “to force entry without a warrant,” for the sake of the children’s welfare. Once inside, officers instructed the couple to sit down. Matthew Hope remained seated but Melissa Hope reportedly tried to block the officers from her children. She’s accused of grabbing one of the officers by “his throat and neck” and pushing him backwards with a “significant amount of force,” WCVB reports.
Officers arrested Melissa Hope on an assault and battery charge. She pleaded not guilty and has since been released from custody.
The suspects haven’t been criminally charged in connection with the child abuse allegations. The investigation is still ongoing investigation.
“Additional charges may be filed over the course of the ongoing police and state investigation,” Taunton police said.
The children’s father vehemently denied the charges.
“The charges are completely falsified, made up by the system, to take children away from hard-working parents,” Matthew told reporters Monday.
The father told the Boston Herald that his children weren’t kept in cages. He claimed he used a “medium-sized” dog crate for “their three cats when someone is visiting.”
“I didn’t do anything they said I did at all. We’re not bad parents. We love all of our kids. And they are trying to make us out like we’re monsters.”
He also told the newspaper of an incident last year in which his 13-year-old stepson was taken from the home by DCF, but didn’t offer specifics. DCF confirmed with the Boston Herald that the children were removed from the Hope’s home, but declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide updates as information becomes available.
[Feature Image: Melissa Hope/Taunton Police Department]