Marc Fortier

Police: DCF Investigating Allegations Children Were Kept in Cages, Abused

A Massachusetts woman has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer who was assisting with an investigation into a report about three children living in squalor.

Taunton police said 34-year-old Melissa Jean Hope of Taunton was charged with assault and battery on a police officer during an investigation into alleged child abuse at her East Water Street home on Sunday.

Matthew Hope says he and his wife have no idea why police and the Department of Children and Families showed up at their home Sunday. But according to court paperwork, the allegations included "sex assault and keeping of children in cages."

"The Taunton Police Department kicked my door in like I'm a drug dealer," said Matthew Hope. "They proceeded to assault my wife and make falsified charges. My house is not a mess. I don't cage my children."

Police say it was an anonymous tip that led authorities to start investigating the family, with allegations the children have been neglected and abused, sexually assaulted and kept in cages, according to a police report.

The couple denies all of the allegations.

"I would like to know why they think I'm a pervert," said Matthew Hope.

Police say it got ugly when officers and DCF arrived at the home on Sunday, with the couple shouting obscenities out the window and refusing to let authorities in.

Officers say they had to force their way inside, and that's when Melissa Hope allegedly grabbed one of the officers near his throat and pushed him backwards.

She was arrested, and the three kids taken away. Police say they were taken into DCF custody due to living conditions in the apartment.

The officer's injuries are believed to be minor.

Neither parent is facing any criminal charges in connection with the allegations of abuse and neglect, but Melissa Hope is charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

"I love my children to death," said Matthew. "We'll get them back."

Hope was released on personal recognizance following her arraignment Monday in Taunton District Court.

It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer.

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