OKDHS denies accusations of neglect in alleged El Reno child sex abuse case | #childabuse | #children | #kids

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Thursday denied accusations the agency was negligent in an alleged child sex abuse case in El Reno.

On Tuesday, the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office arrested Michael Brooks, 25, on suspicion of forcible sodomy and lewd acts with a child under 16 years of age.

The child told investigators the abuse occurred almost nightly for a year.

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said DHS did not offer “any assistance or advocate for the removal of the children,” even though there were referrals to the agency from educators and the community.

West said he was “dumbfounded as to why DHS had not taken a serious look into the matter,” and “if they had, maybe the poor child wouldn’t have had to suffer the continuous sexual battery and abuse that she did for over a year.”

On Thursday, DHS told The Oklahoman the agency became aware of the allegations on July 10, when the allegations were reported through its child abuse reporting hotline.

DHS Spokeswoman Casey White said the department cannot comment on specific child welfare cases, but DHS takes each referral seriously, and as required by statute, looks for the presence of any safety threats when determining when to proceed with an investigation.

Safety is the threshold by which DHS determines whether the removal of children from their home is warranted, and in cases of physical or sexual abuse, the agency acts immediately to protect any children involved, White said.

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