What to Know
- Authorities in Taunton, Mass. say they received an anonymous allegation that included "sex assault and keeping children in cages."
- Melissa Jean Hope, 34, was charged with assault and battery on an police officer when an officer responded to the allegations.
- Hope and her husband deny the allegations; their children are now in the custody of the state's child welfare agency.
Cellphone video was captured at the scene of the arrest of a Massachusetts woman after she allegedly attacked an officer who responded to claims of child abuse in her household.
On Sunday, officials responded to a Taunton home after they received an anonymous allegation that included "sex assault and keeping of children in cages," according to court documents. At the East Water Street house, officers were confronted by obscenities before the confrontation turned violent.
Melissa Jean Hope, 34, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer after she allegedly grabbed an officer near his throat and pushed him back. Hope and her husband, Matthew, deny the child abuse claims.
"They kicked in the door, they threw me on the couch," said Matthew Hope.
In the cellphone video, Melissa Hope is heard saying "this is the officer that put his hands on me," while the device is pointed at the officer.
The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families said it took emergency custody of the three children in the home — two girls ages 2 and 3, and a 1-month-old boy — after receiving an anonymous report that they were being sexually abused and kept in cages.
The couple's three children are now in DCF custody after police saw the conditions of the home.
"My house is not a mess. I don't cage my children," Matthew Hope said. "So wherever they’re getting this from is completely falsified and untrue."
Matthew Hope said that he has a small, collapsible dog crate for his cats, but that he would never put his children inside them.
He says DCF has been involved with their family for about a year because his oldest daughter had unspecified "issues."
"Once you get into that part of the system, you cannot get out, doesn't matter if you play by their rules, do everything they want you to do, you still can't get out," he said.
One neighbor was shocked to hear of the allegations.
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"It makes me really mad. That’s disgusting," neighbor Lora Kenny said. "That's disgusting, to do that to a child like that."
Melissa Hope was released Monday on a personal recognizance after her arraignment. It is unclear if she has an attorney. Hope is due back in court on the assault and battery charges Nov. 15.
She and her husband are not facing criminal charges in connection with the abuse allegations.