Abused Greenville girl remains in the care of court


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 1:21 pm on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Samantha Slater

STANTON — A Greenville child remains under court jurisdiction as her mother continues to work toward regaining custody.

Brooklyn Weimer, now 3, was hospitalized on March 24, 2013, with severe abdominal and brain injuries after being in the care of her mother’s boyfriend.

Benjamin Wilkins was sentenced last September in 8th Judicial Circuit Court to from 10 to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to second-degree child abuse and being a habitual offender second offense. He was originally charged with first-degree child abuse, but he took a plea deal from the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office. He also pleaded no contest to an abuse/neglect charge in a related case in Montcalm County Juvenile Court.

Criminal child abuse charges against Brooklyn’s mother, Samantha Slater, were dismissed last May after a judge ruled there was a lack of evidence. Civil charges against Slater were dismissed last August after the Department of Human Services withdrew its petition against Slater.

After DHS withdrew its petition, Slater was given a case service plan so DHS officials could evaluate her and her behavior. Montcalm County Probate Court continues to have jurisdiction over Brooklyn. Depending on the outcome of the case service plan, Slater could have Brooklyn returned to her, or she could permanently lose custody of Brooklyn.

 

Slater still struggling

According to court documents, Slater has made progress in certain areas of her case service plan, but has failed in other areas.

A court hearing on Nov. 18, 2013, showed Slater had not complied with the following requirements: attending and displaying benefit from parenting classes, following all recommendations from a doctor’s evaluation, attending counseling sessions recommended by her therapist, participating in training offered by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Spectrum Health related to caring for a child with a traumatic brain injury and G tube (gastric feeding tube), seeking and maintaining safe and appropriate housing and applying for and participating in the PATH program or participating with Michigan Works at least 20 hours per week until employment is obtained.

A Feb. 11 court hearing this year showed Slater had not complied with the following requirements: attending and displaying benefit from parenting classes, participating in a foster care supportive visitation program, attending counseling sessions, participating in training offered by Mary Free Bed and Spectrum Health related to caring for a child with a traumatic brain injury and G tube and applying for and participating in the PATH program or participating with Michigan Works at least 20 hours per week until employment is obtained.

A March 24 hearing showed Slater had not complied with the following requirements: participating in a foster care supportive visitation program, attending a scheduled evaluation and following all recommendations from that evaluation, participating in weekly domestic violence counseling and displaying benefit from the counseling and attending individual counseling at least weekly.

 

Biological father remains incarcerated

Brooklyn’s biological father, Clayton Weimer of Greenville, was arrested after a routine traffic stop in March 2010 led to the seizure of 88 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle he was driving in Pontiac, Ill., according to the Pontiac Daily Leader newspaper. The marijuana, which was packed in two suitcases, had a street value of $176,000. Weimer escaped from police on foot, but was arrested a short time later.

Weimer was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in an Illinois prison. His earliest projected parole date is in March 2018.

A court hearing on Nov. 18, 2013, showed Weimer had not complied with the following requirements while in prison: participating in individual counseling sessions, participating in and displaying benefit from substance abuse counseling, participating in AA or NA and providing verification of attendance, participating in and displaying benefit from parenting classes and participating in father support group.

A Feb. 11 court hearing this year showed Weimer had not complied with the following requirements while in prison: participating in and displaying benefit from substance abuse counseling.

A March 24 hearing showed Weimer had not complied with the following requirements while in prison: participating in individual counseling sessions and participating in and displaying benefit from substance abuse counseling.

 

‘There is an obvious bond …’

Another Montcalm County Probate Court hearing is scheduled for June 17 to review the ongoing progress of Slater and Weimer. Until then, Brooklyn will remain under the court’s jurisdiction. Slater is allowed to have supervised visitation with Brooklyn at least two hours per week.

“The court found returning (Brooklyn) to the parents would cause a substantial risk of harm to (Brooklyn’s) life, physical health or mental well-being,” the March 24 court ruling stated. “(Brooklyn) should not be returned to her parents at this time.

“The agency should not initiate proceedings to terminate any parental rights to (Brooklyn) because the mother is making progress in her case service plan … there is an obvious bond between the mother and (Brooklyn) and it would not be in (Brooklyn’s) best interest to terminate parental rights,” the ruling stated.

Karen McFadden, a Belding attorney, has been acting as Brooklyn’s lawyer-guardian since last December after Tammy Shaw, a Lakeview attorney, ended her private practice of law.

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