• TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: Melissa Jean Hope, 34, of Taunton was charged with assault and battery on a police officer during an investigation into alleged child abuse at her Taunton home Sunday night, Sept. 30. Courtesy photo

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope speaks about the abuse allegations involving his children in front of his East Water Street home where Taunton Police said the abuse took place, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope becomes emotional as he talks about his children that were taken away after abuse allegations, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope becomes emotional as he talks about his children that were taken away after abuse allegations, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: The two-family home where Taunton Police said child abuse took place by the residents of the first floor, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope speaks about the abuse allegations involving his children in front of his East Water Street home where Taunton Police said the abuse took place, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope speaks about the abuse allegations involving his children in front of his East Water Street home where Taunton Police said the abuse took place, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope speaks about the abuse allegations involving his children in front of his East Water Street home where Taunton Police said the abuse took place, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope becomes briefly emotional as he is asked what he would like to say to his children who were taken away after abuse allegations, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • ‘NEGLECT AND ABUSE’: Department of Children and Families workers took three children from Matthew Hope, above, and his wife, Melissa, left, Sunday night. Melissa Hope pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge of assault and battery on a police officer.

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Matthew Hope speaks about the abuse allegations involving his children in front of his East Water Street home where Taunton Police said the abuse took place, Monday, October 1, 2018, in Taunton. (Photo By Jim Michaud/Boston Herald)

  • TAUNTON, MA - OCTOBER 1, 2018: Melissa Jean Hope, 34, Taunton, MA in Taunton District Court on Monday October 1, 2018. She was arrainged for assault and battery on a police officer that was assisting the Department of Children and Families who were removing three children from her apartment. Taunton Gazette photo by Mike Gay

  • Melissa Jean Hope, 34, Taunton, MA in Taunton District Court on Monday October 1, 2018. She was arrainged for assault and battery on a police officer that was assisting the Department of Children and Families who were removing three children from her apartment. Taunton Gazette photo by Mike Gay

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Three small kids have been taken from a Taunton house of “squalor” and their mom was arrested for grappling with a cop as child welfare workers investigate a report of sexual abuse and children kept in cages, police said — allegations the father denies.

Police accompanied Department of Children and Families workers to Melissa and Matthew Hope’s apartment on East Water Street Sunday night to remove the kids, citing a report of “neglect and abuse … sexual assault and the keeping of children in cages,” according to a police report. A police statement later added, “DCF had received an anonymous report about three children allegedly living in squalor.”

The Hopes refused to let them in.

“Melissa and Matthew (were) shouting obscenities out the window stating that the responders were not allowed in the residence without a warrant,” Taunton police officer Nicholas Kerr wrote.

But a patrol supervisor, noting that child welfare was involved, authorized the officers to force entry without a warrant.

While Matthew sat down as instructed, police said Melissa stood to block their way to the rear of the apartment where the children — two daughters, ages 2 and 3, and a 1-month-old son — were believed to be. Police said she grabbed a cop by the throat and shoved him back.

Melissa Hope was arraigned on one count of assault and battery of a police officer — the only charge so far in the case. Hope pleaded not guilty yesterday. Judge Michael Brennan released her on her own recognizance.

“Additional charges may be filed over the course of the ongoing police and state investigation,” Taunton police said.

Police referred all further comment to Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn’s office and DCF. DCF confirmed the children were removed from the home, but declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation. The DA’s office did not respond to multiple calls for comment.

Yesterday, Matthew Hope denied keeping any of his children in a cage. He said he and Melissa have a “medium-sized” dog crate that they keep only their three cats in when someone is visiting.

“I didn’t do anything they said I did at all,” Matthew Hope said.

“We’re not bad parents,” he said. “We love all of our kids. And they are trying to make us out like we’re monsters.”

Hope said his 13-year-old stepson was removed by DCF from the home last year, but he didn’t elaborate. Of his younger children’s removal Sunday, he said, “The last thing I said to them was, ‘Daddy loves you. Goodbye.’ ”

The police report, focusing mainly on the forced entry and the alleged fight with Melissa Hope, did not elaborate on what conditions officers found in the apartment.

However, a police press release stated, “Due to the living conditions of the apartment the three children were taken into DCF custody.”