Investigator Chad Brown of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, under the direct supervision of the Shelby County District Attorney, Stephen Shires, on Friday, February 3, 2017 filed charges against Kursti Agnew on two counts of Child Endangerment – based on creating a danger to her children’s mental and emotional state – and one count of false report to a peace officer. She was booked into the Shelby County Jail on Sunday, February 5, 2017, and bonded out that same day.
The charge of false report to a peace officer stems from a report Agnew made to authorities on February 2, 2017, that allegedly contained a number of material untruths. This was the latest salvo in a campaign that Agnew has waged against the family of her children’s father over the past year, either as a part of, or leading up to, what authorities believe is a new round of a custody battle. Over the last year, Agnew has made a number of claims that her children have been abused by a member of their father’s family. These charges have been thoroughly investigated, and found to be wholly untrue. “But that is not why I approved going forward with the charges,” notes Stephen Shires. “There is strong evidence in this case that Ms. Agnew is compelling the children to make false allegations against a member of their father’s family using terms and ideas of an explicit sexual nature that children of these ages should have absolutely no concept about.”
This is the first time that Sheriff Willis Blackwell and Stephen Shires have filed charges for child endangerment based on emotional and mental harm. “I am very concerned about the emotional welfare of these children, and I felt something had to be done,” said Shires. “Plus, as a matter of policy, false reports of this nature take valuable time and resources away from our ability to address legitimate claims of child abuse; it was only after repeated abuses of the system that we decided that we had no choice but to move forward with charges against Ms. Agnew.”
Shires concluded, “District Judge LeAnn Rafferty signed the warrants. She made it very clear that she wanted to make sure that we were not sending a message to the community that would in any way discourage folks from making reports regarding the abuse of children, even if ultimately the concerns are unfounded. As such, Judge Rafferty scrutinized the complaints carefully and was extremely thoughtful and deliberate before signing the warrants. I assured her that this matter was singular in both its egregiousness and seriousness, and that we have a very active and effective Child Advocacy Center, that the Sheriff, Investigator Brown, and I strongly and energetically support.”