Molestation charges against NSP foster father dropped

Mouacheupao plans to appeal license revocation

In May, Ramsey County prosecutors dismissed two fourth-degree sexual conduct charges against Moua Soua Mouacheupao, 61, of North St. Paul. Mouacheupao was accused of molesting two female minors who were placed under foster care in his home with him and his wife, Sy Vang Mouacheupao.

A document submitted by the prosecution says “the State of Minnesota ... dismisses the (charges) on the grounds that the State is unable to maintain its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial in this matter.”

Mouacheupao has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal. Over the years, his house on Buhl Avenue has been home to more than 25 foster children ages 2-21.

The Ramsey County attorney’s office said it does not have “sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“The cases were dismissed pending further investigation by police,” according to a statement from the attorney’s office. “We will consider re-filing charges in the event that additional evidence becomes available after further investigation.”

Mouacheupao’s attorney, Christa Groshek, says she does not believe Mouacheupao is currently under investigation. The North St. Paul police department did not respond to the Review’s request for comment.

Two foster daughters report abuse

According to the complaint, Mouacheupao’s 16-year-old foster daughter alleged in February 2012 that Mouacheupao had touched her inappropriately while she lived with him and his wife. She told authorities the incident occurred in January when she was sick with a fever and stayed home from school.

During the course of the investigation, officers spoke with a former foster child of the North St. Paul couple. The woman, now 21 years old, was in foster care from November 2007 to July 2008. According to court records, she told officers that Mouacheupao tried to sexually assault her at a park and touched her inappropriately at the family home.

Wameng Moua, Mouacheupao’s son, says the girls who alleged the abuse were doing so for selfish reasons.

“The truth was that (the 16-year-old) was on her way to juvenile hall for ditching school and so she needed to weasel her way out of that situation. In fact, after she accused my dad, the accuser then became (regarded as) a victim and thus never faced any consequences for her truancy.”

Moua added that the second foster daughter had been labeled a “compulsive liar” by her school’s psychiatrist.

Family never doubted innocence

Moua contended his parents’ home was a safe place for many foster children over the years.

“Being foster parents was a choice my parents made after all their children had grown up and moved away. They still had a lot of energy and life experiences to share, so they opened their home to some of the neediest children in the county, and up to this point, everything was great,” he said. “Most of the children grew into responsible adults and were able to maintain a normal, functional life.”

Despite the severity of these accusations, Moua says his family never doubted his father’s innocence.

“We kids and all who truly know my dad never had a split second of doubt as to his innocence. However, because my dad is highly revered by the Hmong community and because his (biological) children are in the public eye ...we had to constantly fend off the stigma that these accusations carry.”

Moua is the editor of Hmong Today newspaper, and Mouacheupao’s wife, Sy Vang, received an award for human service from the McKnight Foundation in September 2011. The award recognized her work fighting domestic abuse, particularly in the Hmong community.

Plans to appeal revoked license

As a result of the allegations, the Ramsey County Community Human Services Department revoked Mouacheupao’s foster care license. He plans to appeal the revocation in front of an administrative law judge later this year, his attorney says.

“They will listen to his case and decide whether or not maltreatment occurred,” Groshek said. “If maltreatment is found, he would be ineligible to contact any of the children that were in his care. The effects could be devastating and potentially life-changing.”

Moua says that providing social services like foster care and elder care was his father’s main source of income.

“My dad was also an elder caregiver licensed by the state of Minnesota to provide care through a home health care provider,” he said. “Balancing the foster home with his elder care services, my dad was able to make a decent living after being forced into early retirement. Since these allegations came forward, my dad has been severely hurt financially.”

“Life goes on, but in the process of being wrongly accused, my dad has lost over $100,000 in actual fees and also in terms of future losses,” Moua added.

“And  ... because these accusers and the investigators have virtual immunity from being prosecuted, nobody will lose a thing, other than my dad.”

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.

 

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