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Child Abuse Registry

New York State wrongly places couple on child abuse registry after couple looses child in accident.

On September 14th, 1996, the family was living in a small town in Otsego County, New York. They were just moving in that week. The father, Chris, had taken a job with the farmer that owned the house.

There was an in-ground pool on the property 75 feet from the back door of the tenant house that the family was moving into. Past the pool was the barn that Chris would be working in.

On this day, Chris came home for a break before evening chores. Mary, then 8-months-old, was not feeling well and the three boys Josh, Logan and Brady had to stay inside because I couldn’t take them out.

When Chris went to leave for chores, the family was in the living room. The three boys followed Chris out to the back door and I heard them ask if they could go to feed the cows with him, I didn’t hear what he told them. Mary was fussy and I was trying to calm her. When the boys didn’t come back in the room I assumed Chris had let them go to the barn. About 45 minutes later the two older boys came back in the room, I asked where their brother was and they said with Dad. I thought Chris had brought them back over.

A short while later, Chris came in, when I asked him where Bunches was, he said, "I thought he was with you," we started searching. I found Brady floating in the pool and tried to do CPR while Chris called for help. He was pronounced dead at Bassett Hospital.

If that wasn’t enough pain and suffering for our family, we were about to find out just how bad it could get.

After the funeral I was asked by the Sheriff to bring the boys and come down to the Sheriff’s office. They spoke to me and then the boys. Josh came out after the interview and the first thing he said to me was "Mommy, I didn’t hurt Brady." I told him I knew that, and the sheriff told me he was sorry, nobody thought he did. He was wrong.

The CPS Worker, Nancy, had more or less out right accused the 7-year-old of causing the drowning; this started 8 months of pure hell.

Finally, the family moved out of the county over a three-day weekend and Nancy was called on Monday and told to to leave us alone. She told me I had to sign permission for her to forward the case to the new county CPS worker. I wouldn’t, and didn’t. They showed up any way, but when I showed them the letter I had kept asking me to sign permission proving that I hadn’t they left without ever seeing one of my son’s or Chris. The case was closed.

Ten years later, February of 2007, I was helping a young mother who was having trouble caring for her infant. The girl took the baby to the doctors after a weekend at her boyfriend’s house. The baby was dirty so they reported her to CPS, when I took the girl and the baby to see the caseworker investigating her. They informed the girl that Chris and I were unfit to help her because we had "caused a child fatality 10-years prior and were listed on the State Register of Child Abuse."

I was sick and stunned. I had no idea.

I wrote to the State Registry and asked them to review and expunge the record, the request was denied. Now I am waiting for a hearing to be scheduled to ask that it be looked at again and the record corrected.

We were never brought before a judge or jury. We were never found guilty of a crime. Yet, this record can be brought up and thrown in our face anytime a CPS worker wants to torment us. They can tell others like the young girl we were helping, so that Brady’s death is used to hurt us publicly.

Chris is currently paid by the same county to baby-sit for our two nephews. I was paid by another county to work with families who had kids with special needs and emotional disturbances. I was also employed by a state pilot program to work with emotionally disturbed children and their families. This had never been brought up before.

My sister-in-law-to-be had her son released to her, while residing in my home, by a family court Judge. Yet, no one ever mentioned my name being on a child abuse registry. Why is it that only one of the two counties involved in the original torment brings this up, yet other counties will pay me to help families and children?

Michele Bridge

1 Comment

  1. Michele Bridge

    Update: We had a hearing held in Madison County where the original county didn’t bother to show up because they had no evidence. The hearing officer said that the record would no longer be available and could not be used against us.

    Not true, in 2009, my bi-polar son shoved his sister while neither of us were home and a family friend was supervising her at our home. The investigating worker brought it up again. She falsified her report claiming we were home, when she was told by several witnesses we were not, and could have checked with a local law enforcement to know that I was not home.

    We have a hearing scheduled for October 2010 again to bring proof that we did not allow him to abuse Mary and were not there when the incident that they said he was innocent of occured. When we filed for an appeal on thier finding for all named parties, my son was decided unfounded as well as everyone except myself and my husband because we “failed” to have a plan and were home when the incident occurred. Does the county really have so few cases of real abuse that they need to falsify reports to show a need for thier destruction of families and family values?

    Will try to keep you posted…..

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