terpening using son as part of defense?

UPDATE February 29, 2012

From WWMT, "In December, Terpening's son was charged with 6 counts of assault and 2 counts of 4th degree criminal sexual conduct for his behavior at school. Students reported that Terpening's son touched them and spoke to them, often, in threatening and vulgar terms."

The point this writer notes there is substantial information the child has been sexually acting out for some period of time. This story now tells us the child was charged with 6 counts of assault and 2 counts of 4th degree criminal sexual conduct.

This was not one kid complaining...WWMT reports there are some thirty kids complaining of the acting out by Terpening's son.

In fairness, it also appears the school handled this situation very poorly, first in tolerating the behavior going on over a period of years and second for a teacher asking kids to raise their hands if they experienced problems with the child.

Terpening claims in the WWMT story his son was charged to force him into a plea deal. Terpening does not say any deal was offered.

From our earlier story...

An attorney appointed to represent the interests of the Terpening children in the parental rights trial says Michael Terpening's appearing on WMMT talking about his son's intelligence quotient is, "another cry for attention." Followers claim the child was charged with sex offenses because of who his father is.

Michael Terpening was the Executive Director of Earth Services, a child welfare agency created to take in court placed young men  offering services designed to move the kids into successful lives. In his role as Executive Director, Terpening would have been responsible developing training programs for a staff the Followers number at some twenty people. Terpening would have had responsibility for the relationship between his staff and the local school district, and would have been involved with, if not directly managing the relationship.

Better than the average person, Michael Terpening would know school records of special needs kids are private records are protected by state and federal civil rights laws. Terpening knows because it's his responsibility to ensure his employees maintain the privacy of special education information his employees may have. Terpening knows about privacy rights because, as a parent, he is required to sign off on special education documents. Privacy is key part of those laws. The consequences for an Earth Services employee violating a placed child's special education rights would likely be heard in federal court and could result in Earth Services losing its license to operate from the State of Michigan.

In the video at the bottom of this page, Kim Tungate, Mike Terpening's mother tells viewers the child has not been interviewed by the state police, who investigated the case, The child, through counsel, waived his right to a preliminary hearing and has never been put in hand cuffs following the initial decision by prosecutors to file charges. The extent of his involvement with the justice system may have been, at most, a five minute court hearing and a visit to a psychiatrist for the evaluation to determine competence.

The Michigan State Police and the prosecutor did not know the child's disability. They never spoke to the child. By law, the school could notTerpening's Son

 release any information alluding to the child's disability lacking signed permission by the parents.

The only information the authorities had related to the allegations would have been victim and witness statements.

 We read the allegation the, "Barry County prosecutors have ruined a 12 year old boy's life." The first question is how? The child had no contact with the police, at all. He was in court, if at all, for a few minutes long enough for the attorney to waive the preliminary hearing. He met with a psychiatrist, not a new experience for a former foster child.

More importantly, if  the child has an IQ of 61, which falls below the standard of being, "developmentally disabled" what used to be called, "mentally retarded" the child would not have the ability to have appreciated any of these events. This is a young man who will never live on his own. There will always be someone responsible for the child.

Is this anything more than a predator attempting to the public's lack of knowledge to manipulate the outcome he wants? Are we being taken by fools? Isn't this just a cry for attention to help your own cause? Is this what a father does?

One final question, Mr. Terpening. Sexually acting out in children is almost always a learned behavior, what is going on with this young man?

Final thought