The family court case
Last May 10, 2011 around 10pm an 18 year old male resident of Earth, Inc reported sexual contact with Michael Terpening on two occasions, May 5th and then again on May 10th. By law, any person working with young people must report suspected abuse of any child to the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Protective Services (CPS), immediately in their county. The young man reported his allegations to three staffers the night of May 10 according to the DHS report.
In this case Mr. Terpening was immediately banned from the Earth Services, Inc property; normal protocal when allegations involve staff at DHS licensed facilities. The young man making the initial allegation was interviewed, as were staff and Mr. Terpening. Kids the facility were also interviewed by state police and DHS investigators.
The CPS investigation is a function of DHS. If allegations are substantiated DHS the person is recorded as an abuser of children in the Michigan Child Abuse Registry. Mike Terpening was found to have abused young men placed at Earth Services, Inc facility. DHS forwards their results to the prosecution for review and possible civil action in Family Court.
The state police, after completing their separate investigation, forward a report to the prosecutor who determines what, if any action, will be taken criminally.
Some parse the lack of allegations involving the Terpening Children as a reason not to separate Mike Terpening from his kids. The fact is, under the law Michael Terpening is a listed as an abuser of children in the Michigan Child Abuse Registry for sexual abuse. Given the severity of the findings by DHS, the current proceedings are required to protect the children from someone known to be a child abuser. The Michigan Supreme Court, since the 1970's has recognized a principle holding a person who abuses children is likely to abuse his own children.
The Terpening Followers raise an issue in regards to Mrs. Terpening, who is also at risk to lose her parental rights. The state views anyone who assists a child abuser, by refusing to protect a child from abuse, as unable to care for children. Mrs. Terpening's refusal to separate herself from Michael Terpening, in a case where the abuse allegations have been sustained, leaves her incompetent to care for the children by law should a jury so find in an upcoming family court trial.