Child Molestation Involving Michigan Children’s Protective Services
Parents accused of child sexual abuse, also call child molesting, face extremely harsh and very immediate consequences. Parents risk losing custody of their children, sometimes as soon as the abuse/neglect charges are filed. This kind of litigation might be called an abuse petition by CPS, a neglect petition, a child protective proceeding, or a CPS case. No matter the title, if it involves CPS filing the child molestation case, it is litigated in the Family Division of the Circuit Court in the county where the child resides. This is not to be confused with any additional criminal case that is filed by the Prosecuting Attorney in the criminal court. If is not uncommon to have both a CPS and a criminal cases filed at the same time.
So many things could potentially set off a CPS investigation and risk your parental rights:
- a casual comment made by a child,
- a patient-doctor relationship gone bad,
- a complaint by a student,
- an innocent comment made to a teacher, counselor or school nurse,
- false allegations made during a hotly contested divorce. In fact custody cases are a frequent breeding ground for accusations of child molestation here in Michigan.
Michigan law designates certain professionals as “mandatory reporters.” This means that certain people are required to contact CPS if a child makes a casual comment or false allegation regarding sexual abuse. Some mandatory reporters include doctors, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, dental hygienists, paramedics, counselors, school administrators and teachers, pastors, priests, psychiatrists, psychologists, police officers, social workers, CPS workers, and regulated child care providers. If a mandated reporter fails to report a required suspicion, that failure to report is a criminal offense.
What happens after an allegation of molestation?
Once a report has been made to Children’s Protective Services in Michigan, CPS is required by law to conduct an investigation. Oftentimes, a CPS agent will go to your child’s school to speak to the child in person without the parent ever finding out. The investigation is supposed to be completed within 30 days.
Even if you end up going to criminal court and are found not guilty by jury, your battle with CPS may not over. The next step may be CPS is to file a child abuse or neglect petition to get a court to take action against you. In the case of an accusation involving child molestation, Children’s Protective Services must comply with the Michigan law that requires them to ask the judge to terminate your parental rights.
What does a CPS petition involve?
CPS petition cases are technically civil cases, not criminal cases. This makes it easier for the state to terminate your parental rights – rather than try to convict you of a crime and send you off to prison for decades. It is easier for CPS workers because the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution do not apply to a CPS investigation. However, they always apply to cases once they reach the courthouse. Moreover, police officers and CPS workers in Michigan routinely coordinate their investigations and share information. This is particularly dangerous for a person being accused of child molestation because CPS does not have to advise you of Miranda rights.
This is a perfect example of CPS workers taking advantage of your rights not applying during the CPS investigation is that they never use Miranda Warnings. The fact is, they don’t have to give you these warnings because they aren’t police officers. It doesn’t matter that the CPS investigators will give police officers all information gathered, to be used later in a criminal prosecution. See how deceptive these proceedings can be?
Because the law is in the favor of CPS investigators, you should never talk to them without your attorney present. A CPS case will move very quickly in the beginning stages, so you should hire an attorney who will be able to match this speed and experience in protecting you. For example: any officer, county agent, or probation officer may, without court order, immediately take your child into custody if the child’s surroundings are such as to endanger his or her health morals or welfare…MCL 712A.14(1). There are many pitfalls for the unsuspecting or the unwary.
CPS is not a parent’s friend or helper!
If you find yourself in a Children’s Protective Services proceeding accused of molesting a child, you will quickly realize that most people aren’t there to help the parents. Actually, many people will be working against you. Some of these people will include the prosecutor, guardian ad litem, CPS investigator, social workers, foster care parents, psychologists, medical personnel and sometimes even the court-appointed psychologists/psychiatrists and medical doctors. It could even be the case that your own family physician will serve as the state’s witness against you.
If you’re facing a CPS proceeding involving allegations of a sex crime against a child, you need a experienced CPS defense attorney now. CPS is not going to wait to make sure that you have a solid defense. The system is not at all balanced and sadly, despite what you are told, leaves the burden of proof on the shoulders of the accused parent. Because of this, you need to take any kind of sexual allegations or child molestation very seriously. You also need a lawyer who is ready to defend you aggressively and who has experience with these types of cases.
The Kronzek Firm can help. We are not afraid to fight the CPS investigation and charges at every stage of the process. We understand the complexities of child molestation laws and we are ready to help you keep your family together. We have litigated these cases for decades.
We’ve gone up against CPS many times and we know the coercive bullying tactics that CPS tends to use. They often destroy families. They take children away from parents and turn mother against father. Even worse, CPS isn’t afraid of charging one parent with “failure to protect” their child if they don’t turn against the other parent. Or another awful tactic is that they try to gain a family’s trust by promising to keep them together, only to gather information that will later be used to tear the family apart. Being honest is not a primary trait we see often in dealing with CPS workers.
Terminating your parental rights.
If CPS isn’t able to terminate your parental rights after the first try, they can use other tactics to keep your family apart. Is possible for them to keep your family within the jurisdiction of the court for an extended period time and to keep you from seeing your children. During this time your children may be kept under the supervision of a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) case worker – and who knows whether or not this case worker will be friendly to your position. In our view, parents are frequently punished and controlled when they are denied sufficient parenting time when their children have been removed from the home.
Sometimes the court will promise not to pursue the termination of your parental rights if you enter a plea agreement. It is likely not in your best interests to take this option. You should make sure that you fully understand the consequences of your plea. Taking a plea agreement to a child abuse or neglect charge means that you will have to register on the Michigan Child Abuse Registry list. Being convicted of a sex offense puts you on Michigan’s public Sex Offender Registry. What’s more, under Michigan law if your case has gone on for too long, your children might never be returned to you because they have already re-started their lives elsewhere.
Child abuse allegations are so serious because they can mean the revocation of your current rights to your children. Moreover, you could forever lose parental rights to all children – even your children that are born 10 years from now. A CPS investigation could potentially have unforeseeable and irrevocable consequences to your future. These investigations are lengthy and expensive. Our attorneys believe your family is worth the time and expense.
Michigan CPS Defense Attorneys
The State of Michigan backs up CPS, making it a formidable opponent. Luckily, The Kronzek Firm attorneys are well known as heavyweights with CPS defense and know how to deal with this difficult and messy process. We will not be put down by the hostile CPS system and we have a track record of success in child protective proceedings. We believe that your family have the right to choose to stay together. We are ready to stand firm to protect your rights, your family, and your future. Call or email us today.
Free attorney consultation: Fill out our contact form or call 1-866-766-5245 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to talk to an experienced Michigan defense lawyer about your CPS case. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Michigan, including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Detroit, Saginaw and Metro Detroit.