Friday, June 24, 2022

Indictment details troubling allegations of abuse at controversial California foster home

His foster homes in Orange and Riverside counties have been revered as a godsend by some – and condemned as a nightmare by others. Now, A foster parent is charged with murder, and both she and her husband face charges of sexually abusing people with disabilities. who depended on them for care and protection.

Jeff Miller kisses Diane Ramirez at the glittering prom in 2018 Courtesy Jeff Miller.

Michelle Morris-Kerin, 80, was supposed to file a plea on Thursday, August 12, but her indictment continued until August 30 to give lawyers time on sealed documents from Riverside County criminal grand jury proceedings, resulting in a 14-count indictment.

While Morris, as she is known, is charged with second-degree murder Failed to get help for “Princess” Diane Ramirez, a terminally ill foster child — and named in all 14 counts — her husband, Edward Lawrence “Larry” Kerin, 79, has only been charged with neglect in relation to the death of the child, and has been named in five counts.

Brian Cosgrove, chief of complex litigation with the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office, expects non-guilty pleas to be filed on Aug.

Both are charged with “deliberately, unlawfully and slyly” committing sexual acts on adult dependents, “with the intent to arouse, appeal to, and satisfy the lust, passion and sexual desires of the said defendant and the said dependent”. to indictment.

These figures appear in the context of the marriage of an adopted brother and sister under the care of the couple at the closed Mitchell Morris Family Home for Children with Disabilities in Murrieta. The suitability of that marriage has been an issue as Morris struggled to maintain guardianship of adult dependent children when she surrendered her foster care license following Ramirez’s death.

In Petition in Probate Court last AugustMorris denies “any illegal, unfair, or wrongful treatment” of the married brother and sister. It also denied that these customers were “severely delayed in development.”

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“Their performance in the classroom, with the aid of assistive technology devices, made it clear that neither was cognitively delayed. Morris-Kerin admits they were married. Four days before their wedding, APS (Adult Protective Services) interviewed him and told that, through his communication tools, he had convinced the APS that the marriage was proper,” says the petition.

A third lewd and sexist allegation names Morris alone, and involves his adopted son, Ryan Morris, who has been at the center of controversy for nearly two decades.

The indictment states that Morris, “being a caretaker, knowingly, illegally, and cunningly committed a lewd and lascivious act” on Ryan Morris “in order to incite, appeal to, and satisfy lust, passion, and sexual desires.” with intent”. The respondent and the said dependent person said.”

Ryan Morris and he had identical twin brothers Flushed into state custody soon after birth. The healthy twin went back to his biological family, but Ryan Morris had a long list of malformations and foster mother Morris told the court that his biological family could not properly care for him. She was allowed to adopt him on the strong objections of the biological family.

Morris was one of the guardians of Ryan Morris when, at the age of 20 and despite having the intelligence of a kindergartener, he married a man almost twice his age in a formal ceremony in Morris’s backyard. Ryan Morris mistook the ceremony for baptism. The court-ordered review stated that she did not have the capacity to consent to marriage and an intimate relationship, and told a psychologist that Morris had promised her a cellphone to marry her.

Indictment details troubling allegations of abuse at controversial California foster home
Michelle Morris’s $1.6 million, 7,000-square-foot home in Murrieta where she runs a state-licensed facility for foster children with disabilities. (Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / SCNG)

Ryan Morris’s biological family has been fighting for his legal guardianship for years, saying they have been sexually abused while Morris’ watch. The judge ordered Morris not to contact his son.

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While Ryan Morris’s biological family sees the indictment as verification of the complaints they’ve been filing for years — to little avail — some were not happy that the deadline for the alleged abuse was so short.

Ryan Morris has lived at the hands of Morris all his life, he maintains, while the indictment focuses on just 2 years – from January 10, 2012, once he turned 18, to September 30, 2014. , a few days before that. Marry Sean Spicer

Morris is in jail with a bail amount of $1 million; Karin was released on bail. Because Morris is represented by the Office of the Public Defender, the judge appointed an outside attorney to represent Kerin. County spokesman John Hall said Public Defender cannot represent two defendants in the same case.

It is quite unusual for a district attorney to convene a grand jury to deliver a criminal indictment, and this is often the route to be taken with high-profile cases, such as The shooting of a disabled man by an off-duty police officer at a Corona Costco in 2019, Cosgrove said. The Public Defender’s Office is conducting a “full conflict investigation” and is investigating police and other reports that have just been forwarded to the District Attorney’s office. Transcripts of the grand jury proceedings are due to expire on August 23, and both sides will look into them before appearing on August 30.

The public defender typically represents poor or low-income clients who cannot afford a private attorney. Cosgrove said Morris and Kerin own a home on Calle Bandido for about $1.6 million, and that means problems could arise as the case progresses.

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