“These children were subjected to routine and systemic mental and physical abuse,” Attorney General Dana Nessel alleged
Two couples are facing multiple child abuse charges for allegedly physically and mentally abusing dozens of children under their care, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Dana Nessel alleged in a press conference streamed by WLNS-TV that Jerry and Tamal Flore and Joel and Tammy Brown “conspired together” to adopt dozens of children “for personal financial gain.”
“These children were subjected to routine and systemic mental and physical abuse in the homes of Jerry and Tamal Flore and Joel and Tammy Brown,” Nessel alleged, adding that the “allegations in this matter are heinous and egregious.”
She noted that over 30 children were placed in the two couples’ care through fostering or adoption, and that the couples received more than $1 million from the state tax-free after allegedly manipulating the foster and adoption care system.
Nessel said they believed that Joel Brown had used his “decades of experience” as a CPS employee to “skillfully and successfully hide the abuse happening within his home” and the home of the Flore family. The alleged incidents date back to 2007.
She said the case was initially referred to Clinton County Sheriff’s Department by child protective services after they received a complaint about suspected child abuse, however, following a preliminary exam, the charges against Joel and Tammy Brown and the charges against Jerry and Tamal Flore were reduced.
Nessel said the Michigan Attorney General’s Office general took over the investigation earlier this year. They interviewed ten of the adopted children, multiple child protective services and DHHS employees, reviewed photos and videos from the home, as well as employment information and medical benefit records.
However, the office faced some challenges during their investigation as Nessel believed, “It is clear that many of the child witnesses in this matter were coached and that the investigation was compromised.”
She also said that “the reason why this abuse was able to go undetected in the Flore home, the home with the most significant and apparent abuse, was due to the fact that all the children were homeschooled.”
Joel Brown faces five charges including second and third degree child abuse and conspiracy to commit child abuse. Tammy Brown faces three charges in connection with the case, including one count of first-degree child abuse.
Tamal and Jerry Flore both face six counts of first-degree child abuse and three counts of second-degree child abuse, among other charges. Tamal is facing 18 total charges while Jerry faces 12.
Nessel said the couples have until Dec. 8 to turn themselves in.
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