ZACHARY, La. (BRPROUD) — Foster parent Michael Hadden of Zachary is accused of sexually abusing three of his foster children.
It’s unclear when the abuse started but police records show complaints as early as January 2021. Records from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office show Hadden is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy for two years. Hadden is also accused of asking another 15-year-old to perform oral sex while the child was intoxicated.
According to the police records, some of the victims have “severe autism” and other mental health disorders.
“I would say there are large amounts of sex abuse cases we receive,” said Kaeli Egler, Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center.
Kaeli Egler is a forensic interviewer and therapist at the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center. She said children within foster care who have disabilities are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
“It’s not that the foster placements are not good, it’s that you have children moving around where they might not have caregivers that they trust. They might not have as many steady eyes on them,” she said. “Children with disabilities definitely can be a higher level of vulnerability to someone who is an offender.”
Hadden’s residence in Zachary is seen falling apart next to a trailer and surrounded by barbed wire. You can see signs in the yard that says “Private Property” and “Restricted Area.”
Police records show the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) previously investigated complaints against Hadden and removed the children from his care, but after some time the children were returned.
DCFS provided us with the following statement:
We learned through media accounts of the horrific allegations involving an individual who was a foster caregiver.
Due to confidentiality laws, we cannot answer questions about a specific case. But it is important for the public to know that allegations like this involving foster parents are extremely rare and are not indicative of our foster parents, most of whom open their homes and dedicate their lives to helping kids.
All foster caregivers must meet a rigorous standard that includes passing a federal criminal background check, a child abuse/neglect background clearance and an extensive reference check.
On a daily basis, DCFS works hand-in-hand with law enforcement and the courts to make decisions about keeping children safe.
Although staff have been working the case, the allegations did not come to the Secretary’s attention until today.Catherine Heitman DCFS Communications
DCFS said they cannot answer questions about specific cases and that allegations like this involving foster parents are extremely rare.