Disclaimer: “All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A foster parent in Zachary is behind bars for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with his foster children over a two-year time span.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO) began investigating 52-year-old Michael Hadden after receiving complaints from the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) for allegedly sexually assaulting three of his foster children.
According to the arrest documents, a 14-year-old boy told DCFS that he was forced to have sex with his foster dad multiple of times since 2021. He said Hadden made him “feel uncomfortable because inappropriate things happen.”
The sheriff’s office said DCFS visited Hadden’s home where he confirmed the 14-year-old victim was his foster child. He also confirmed that the victim has severe autism and several mental health disorders.
Documents said DCFS reported this information to state authorities.
A 15-year-old victim told authorities that while in the care of Hadden, he accidentally consumed an alcoholic beverage that was left in the refrigerator and was later forced to engage in oral sex acts with Hadden. The victim recalled many times when Hadden would watch other children living in the home engage in sexual acts with each other.
Hadden was arrested and charged with molestation of a juvenile and third-degree rape.
DCFS released 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.“
A spokesperson from DCFS provided clarity on how and when the agency learned of the rape allegations: “Although staff have been working the case, the allegations did not come to the Secretary’s attention until today.”
Hadden’s bond was set at $325,000 on Wednesday, according to District Attorney Hillar Moore.
This is an ongoing investigation.