How Could You? Hall of Shame-China Adoptive Parent Melissa M. Dumont UPDATED
This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.
From Manchester, Connecticut, former president of the defunct International Adoptive Families of Connecticut, autism advocate, and China adoptive parent Melissa M. Dumont, 44, and her husband Matthew Dumont, 46, have been charged with “cruelty and abuse of children in their care, including allegations that the three teenagers were slapped, punched and choked, and in one case, sexually humiliated.
Matthew Dumont, 46, and Melissa Dumont, 44, were arrested last week [Melissa was arrested on May 24, 2013 and Matthew on July 2, 2013 according to Connecticut court records]. They were free Thursday pending separate appearances in Manchester Superior Court.
The investigation began in February, when a 13-year-old girl told a state Department of Children and Families official that she and her two siblings were “subjected to emotional and physical abuse on a daily basis,” the warrants state.
The two other children — a 14-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl — suffer from mental and physical ailments, including autism. The three are not related by blood, police said, but their relationships to the Dumonts — whether adopted, foster or biological — was blacked out of arrest warrant affidavits.
Over the past three years, police say, Matthew Dumont slapped the older girl, head-butted the boy and shoved him against a kitchen counter, knowing that the teen has painful back ailments. Dumont is charged with cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a minor and second-degree breach of peace.
Melissa Dumont is charged with third-degree assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. She repeatedly dug her fingernails into the 13-year-old girl’s hands and arms as a form of discipline and once stabbed the girl with a fork, according to allegations detailed in the warrant. On several occasions, Melissa Dumont also exposed her breasts to the younger girl and rubbed her naked breasts against the girl’s back “with the intent to humiliate and/or degrade her,” the arrest warrant states.
Although police say Matthew Dumont admitted he had slapped the older girl and may have pushed the boy against a kitchen counter once or twice, he also told investigators he was baffled about the allegations. Referring to the 13-year-old who made the initial complaint, Dumont described her as “an angry teenager who has her period,” police said.
Although parts of his statements were redacted, Matthew Dumont told police that he and his wife have dedicated their lives to the children and “flew halfway around the world three times to (redacted) nobody wanted.”
“I’m numb, crushed, demoralized. I can’t believe this,” he said, according to police.
The 14-year-old boy has been diagnosed with autism, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and spinal ailments. The 17-year-old girl also is autistic and suffers from an unspecified psychotic disorder, mild mental retardation and progressive hearing loss, the warrants state. Because of their disabilities, the boy and the older girl “were unable to articulate any type of history surrounding their family situation,” police said.
A medical examination of the 13-year-old showed multiple injuries, including scars and bruises, police said. Besides scratching her, the girl said, Melissa Dumont also choked her by wrapping her legs around the girl’s neck, the warrant states.
The Dumonts responded that the 13-year-old and Melissa Dumont take karate lessons together and frequently spar. Confronted with allegations that she exposed her breasts to the younger girl and rubbed her breasts against the girl, Melissa Dumont said she meant to tease the teenager “about her slow development,” police said.
“You know … it was more to the fact that do you want to see what you’re missing … here you go. That kind of concept,” Melissa Dumont said, according to the warrant.
[The Hartford Courant 7/11/13 by Jesse Leavenworth]
The article does not mention where the children currently have been placed.
The oldest girl was adopted from China according to a 1998 interview with The Hartford Courant. I guess the journalist today didn’t want to spend 2 seconds Googling the adoptive mother’s name or looking in the paper’s archives. Matthew implies that the other children were internationally adopted in the July 11, 2013 article when he states that they flew “half-way around the world” three times. At this time, we do not know if the other two children came from China or another country.
“Melissa Dumont of Manchester, president of International Adoptive Families of Connecticut, recommends that parents join an adoption support organization.
Organizations like hers and Families With Children from China guide parentsin helping their children develop a sense of identity. They sponsor language classes, cultural events such as Chinese New Year celebrations, opportunities to meet other adopted children and relationships with local Chinese Americans.
“As the kids get older, it is good for them to see other families made up the same way,” said Dumont, whose 3-year-old daughter is from China. “There is so much she is not going to know about China. It is important for us to give her the opportunity to learn as much as she can.”
Many adoptive parents seek a balance between American and Chinese culture and values, in the hopes of raising children who will benefit from dual ethnic identities.
[The Hartford Courant 6/29/98 by Marie K. Shanahan]
According to Geocities archive, International Adoptive Families of Connecticut closed seven years ago.”As of January 23, 2006, International Adoptive Families (IAF) has folded and closed down permanently due to lack of replacements for volunteer leadership positions.”
The Wayback machine shows a partial 2007 homepage of Melissa’s former website which reads “Is to assist parents and guardians in finding appropriate ways to help special needs children. We are committed to securing the necessary services for your child. As your advocate, Melissa M. Dumont will work with you as part of a team throughout your child’s educational experience.
• No one wins when either side walks away from the table.
• Children are an emotional topic, and schools automatically reject your emotional input as a parent.
• Schools are actually happier when parents are happier.
• What children need and what they receive are not always the same thing.
• Children with ‘gray’ issues often go without any services at all.”
Melissa is still listed as an educational advocate on the Future Years yellow pages here.
According to Melissa’s LinkedIn public profile , she is currently pursuing a registered nursing degree and her educational advocacy ended in 2010.
The public online Connecticut court records show that the bond for Melissa was $25,000. The third degree assault was a physical injury, Misdemeanor A count. The risk of injury to a child is a Felony C count. The fourth degree assault was a sexual assault, victim less than 16 years old and is a Felony D count. All offenses are from January and February of 2013.
Her next court appearance is July 15, 2013, awaiting her plea.
The public online Connecticut court records show that Matthew was released with a “promise to appear” (no money). The Breach of Peace, second-degree assault/strike is a Misdemeanor B count. The intentional cruelty to persons is a Felony U count. The risk of injury to a child is a Felony C count. The felonies stem from incidents in 2010. The misdemeanor is from an incident in 2012.
His next court date is August 19, 2013, awaiting his plea.
REFORM Puzzle Pieces
Update: A search of the Connecticut court records online shows that Melissa’s next hearing is September 6, 2013. The file is still labeled as “awaiting plea”.
Update 2/September 24, 2013: A search of the Connecticut court records online shows that Melissa’s next hearing is October 11, 2013. The file is still labeled “awaiting plea”
Matt’s next hearing is October 16, 2013 and also is “awaiting plea”.
Update 3/May 21,2014:A search of the Connecticut court records online shows that both Melissa and Matt have pretrial hearings on May 23,2014
Update 4/June 11, 2014: A search of the Connecticut court records online shows that both Melissa and Matt have a jury trial on July 1,2014.
Update 5: A search of the Connecticut court records online shows that Melissa has apretrial on 12/11/14. Matt is no longer listed