Woman charged with assaulting officer during child abuse probe

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TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A Taunton woman is charged with assaulting a police officer who was investigating what investigators called “disturbing allegations of child abuse.”

According to police, Melissa Jean Hope, 34, of Taunton is charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

According to a police report, the assault happened as police were helping with the removal of the children from the home amid allegations including “sexual assault and the keeping of children in cages.” 

While Hope is not charged with child abuse, police said other charges are possible in the case.

Police said officers arrived at Hope’s East Water Street apartment Sunday around 6:15 p.m.

They were there to assist the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families with an investigation into alleged child abuse going on inside the apartment. 

“DCF had received an anonymous report about three children allegedly living in squalor,” police said in a release.

Police said after Hope refused to allow the officers inside, they forced their way in, concerned about the children’s safety.

As an officer tried to make his way toward the back of the apartment where the children were, police said Hope assaulted one of the officers.

“Melissa would take her entire hand, grab this officer in the area of his throat and neck and push backwards with a significant amount of force,” the police report stated.

At that point, Hope was handcuffed and placed under arrest.

Due to the living conditions of the apartment, police said the children were taken into DCF custody.

Hope’s husband, Matt, disputes the allegations, saying the cages inside their home are for his pet cats and not for the children.

“I love my children to death,” Matt Hope said. “My house is not a mess, I don’t cage my children. Wherever they are getting this from… it’s completely falsified and untrue.”

Hope was released on personal recognizance following her arraignment in Taunton District Court Monday. Police said she was due back in court Nov. 15.

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