ST PETER —
It was September 2006 when the Hauers and their biological son decided to adopt three young children who had been taken away from their mother. Dakota County social workers asked if they could help and arranged a visit. Mona Hauer said she immediately knew she wanted to adopt the children, including the boy she is now accused of starving.
“For me, it was just right away,” she said. “It’s one of those things that hits you in the gut: ‘These are my kids.’”
Kohlmeyer then focused on allegations made by investigators with the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Department and the Le Sueur County Human Services Department. They were responding to reports from the hospital in Mankato saying the boy was severely malnourished when he was brought there by Mona Hauer.
Nicollet County social workers asked Le Sueur County to investigate. They were concerned about a conflict of interest because the Hauers had been licensed by Nicollet County to provide foster care.
The investigators reported the Hauers’ son hadn’t received special counseling he needed, had been ostracized by the rest of the family, was kept from eating regular meals, faced beatings with boards, and reached a point of malnourishment that forced him to eat bird seed and look for food in the family’s compost pile.
Addressing those allegations, Hauer said she
doesn’t ever remember being given specific recommendations for the 8-year-old boy’s counseling needs. She said the boy had never been left out of family activities and joined the family for regular meals three times a day, where he was encouraged to eat what everyone else was eating. Aside from a short period a couple of years ago where the family tried unsuccessfully to use spanking as a punishment, the boy and his siblings had never been beaten, Hauer said.