Parental rights trial canceled in Greenville child abuse case

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:31 am on Thursday, August 01, 2013

Samantha Slater

Brooklyn Weimer

STANTON — Samantha Slater was scheduled to go to trial today to learn whether her parental rights would be terminated after her young daughter sustained severe abuse injuries.

However, last Friday the Department of Human Services withdrew its motion for Slater’s parental rights trial.

Slater’s daughter Brooklyn Weimer has been hospitalized since March 24 with severe abdominal and brain injuries. Brooklyn turned 3 years old on Sunday, according to her grandmother’s Facebook page.

The Daily News has confirmed that Brooklyn’s condition has improved since the incident and she no longer has to be on life support.

“The child has shown improvement with regard to her condition,” confirmed Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause.

Slater’s boyfriend, Benjamin Wilkins, 26, of Greenville, pleaded no contest on July 12 to second-degree child abuse and being a habitual offender second offense. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as a guilty plea by the court.

Wilkins also pleaded no contest on May 20 to a civil abuse/neglect charge.

Criminal child abuse charges against Slater were dismissed after a judge ruled there was a lack of evidence at a preliminary examination. Slater was scheduled to go to a civil trial today so a judge could determine whether she should have her parental rights terminated. However, that trial was canceled after the Department of Human Services withdrew its petition last Friday.

“The termination petition was withdrawn at this time, but remains a viable option in the future if additional admissible evidence becomes available,” Krause said.

The Department of Human Services will now give Slater a case service plan, which includes a psychiatric evaluation. DHS officials will evaluate Slater and her behavior over the next nine to 12 months. The judge will then hear an update on the case. Depending on the outcome of the case service plan, Slater could have Brooklyn returned to her or she could permanently lose custody of Brooklyn.

The court will continue to have jurisdiction over Brooklyn until a decision is made in about a year.

Officials from the Department of Human Services in Stanton did not return a message seeking comment.

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