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Attorney General Nessel charges four mid-Michigan residents with child abuse

Nessel, in dark jacket, sits at a desk speaking in front of an array of recording devices. There is a mug on the right that appears to have a drawing of a cat on it. Nessel speaks in front of a furled flag and windows with the blinds down but open enough to let in some light.
David Eggert/AP
FILE - In this March 5, 2020 file photo, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference in Lansing.

One of the accused is a former employee of the state agency meant to advocate for children, youth and families.

(MPRN) Four mid-Michigan residents—including a former state employee who reviewed Child Protective Services cases—are facing child abuse charges.

Authorities allege the defendants either adopted or fostered close to 30 kids since 2007, with the charges stemming from alleged abuse of eight of them.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said the accused took advantage of a loophole in the system that provides payments for adoptive and foster parents.

“There is nothing statutorily requiring a person who receives funds from this program to prove that they are actually using the money for the child. And currently, the parents can do—quote, ‘Anything that incorporates the child into the home,’ with that money.”

Nessel called for a strengthening of Michigan’s child abuse laws and an extension of the statute of limitations. Under state law, prosecutors have six years to bring child abuse charges.

Republican Representative Graham Filler is Minority Vice Chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee. He says he believes there’s a will to work on the issue.

“I think the Legislature has taken up the mantle and really taken up tough issues, so I’m excited to do that deep dive and learn about the child abuse laws and ensure that we are protecting kids,” he said.

The defendants in Monday’s case… could each face up to a life sentence if convicted.