Taunton family disputes abuse, neglect allegations

Crime

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Self defense. That’s how the husband of a woman who is facing an assault and battery charge on an officer is describing his wife’s actions after officers forced their way inside the couple’s home to investigate what police called “disturbing” child abuse claims.

Police said Melissa Jean Hope, 34, of Taunton assaulted the officer as police were helping with the removal of her 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. Due to the living conditions of the apartment, police said the children were taken into DCF custody.

Hope reached out to Eyewitness News on social media, sharing a photo of her home and insisting her children were not living in squalor as the police report suggested. She also said she acted in self-defense after the officer assaulted her and not the other way around.

Eyewitness News went to visit Hope at her home after she agreed to an interview. However, upon arrival, her husband said his wife’s lawyer would not let her speak to the media.

“My wife has no comment. Her lawyer told her we have no comment,” Matt Hope said when he came to the door Tuesday.

Matt Hope tells Eyewitness News the allegations against his wife involving their three children – who range in age from 1 month to 3 years – are untrue.

“I, once again, do not know where that came from,” Matt Hope said when asked about the allegations.

Matt Hope said if it were up to him, he would have let Eyewitness News inside his home to see that the conditions were livable and the place was clean.

“If my wife’s lawyer didn’t tell us to say no, I would definitely let you guys in, not a problem,” Matt Hope explained.

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

At last check, her children were still in state custody.

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