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Dad accused of drugging girls at his 12-year-old daughter’s sleepover

“Mom, please pick me up and say I had a family emergency. l don’t feel safe ... please come get me. PLEASE!”
/ Source: TODAY

An Oregon dad was arrested for allegedly drugging young girls at his daughter's sleepover with homemade smoothies.

Michael Meyden, 57, of Lake Oswego, turned himself into the Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City on February 28, according to a press release from the Lake Oswego Police Department.

In a probable cause affadavit, a detective said Meyden was responsible for drugs found in the bloodstreams of three 12-year-old girls who were guests of his daughter's sleepover on August 25, 2023.

Meyden was indicted on nine counts: three counts of causing another to ingest a controlled substance, three counts of application of a schedule-4 controlled substance to another, and three counts of delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.

“Michael is not giving interviews ... But he is presumed innocent,” Meyden’s attorney, Mark C. Cogan, tells TODAY.com. “Nothing has been proven. The case was presented to the grand jury in secrecy with no judge or defense attorney ... and we would ask people to reserve judgement until all the facts are known.”

What the police say

According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by TODAY.com, officers arrived at the hospital on the morning of Aug. 26 to find three girls who had tested positive for benzodiazepine. The controlled substance works as a sedative by calming the nervous system, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The girls told police they had spent the previous night at the home of a friend, whose father is Meyden. The girls said they believed that Meyden drugged smoothies he made before they went to sleep.

"The girls described Mr. Meyden to be very involved with their activities during the sleepover," a detective says in the affadavit. "Mr. Meyden had taken them to get their nails done, pick up a pizza for dinner and directed their activities. The girls explained Mr. Meyden was constantly checking in on them and interjecting himself into their conversations."

The document continued: "The girls stated they played in the sprinklers, went in the hot tub, took showers and got ready for bed at Mr. Meyden’s direction. The girls stated they spent the majority of their time in the basement, where they were doing a 'spa night,' watching movies while they did facials."

Police say Meyden blended mango-orange-coconut smoothies which he "insisted" that all four girls drink in two servings. The affidavit states: "Mr. Meyden specifically gave each of the girls specific colored reusable straws to distinguish their own drink. Mr. Meyden was adamant that the girls drink out of their own cups."

According to the document, the girls consumed the drinks, although one "barely drank any at all" despite Meyden's encouragement and making her a second serving, which she refused. That same girl said Meyden accused her and his daughter of switching their straws "and this upset him."

After the girls chatted and watched television, they went to bed around midnight "at the continuous prompts by Mr. Meyden," according to the affidavit.

One girl reported to police that Meyden came downstairs at one point. She said she pretended to be asleep on the pull-out couch as he removed her arm, which was draped across her friend, and moved the friend to the other side of the bed, according to the affidavit.

Meyden made a second trip downstairs, the affidavit states, and the same girl said "she saw Mr. Meyden in the dim light place his finger underneath her nose, as if to see if she was soundly asleep, he then waved his hand in front of her face." The girl stated she pretended to be asleep, according to the affidavit.

The girl told police she was scared and called and texted her parents, writing, “Mom please pick me up and say I had a family emergency. l don’t feel safe. I might not respond but please come get me (crying emoji), Please. Please pick up. Please. PLEASE!"

According to the affidavit, the girl said Meyden came back inside and stood near the bed for approximately 15 minutes, stating that "she could feel him watching her." After he left, she continued texting people in hopes for a ride home.

The girl told police that Meyden returned to the basement and went into the bathroom, which she said leads to the bedroom where the other girls slept.

That girl then received a text message from her friend alerting her that she was outside; she ran into Meyden on her way out and told him she had to leave for a family emergency, according to the warrant.

At home, the girl said she woke up her parents, who called the parents of the other girls, according to the affidavit; two drove to Meyden's home to pick up the children. ?

Police reported in the affidavit that during an interview with one of the girls, she "walked slowly and used the assistance of her mother for balance, her eyelids were heavy, and she spoke slowly, approximately 12 hours after drinking the smoothies."

The girl "recalled starting to feel woozy, hot and clumsy shortly after drinking the second smoothie ... and recalled telling scary stories then going to stand up and 'tipping over,'" the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, the girl said she “could not recall what occurred upon ‘blacking out,’ and fell into a “thick, deep sleep.” She had to be carried inside her home, the affidavit says, and she kept asking "What happened?" before going to the hospital.

TODAY.com reached out to Meyden and several of the parents involved and did not immediately hear back.

A spokesperson from the City of Lake Oswego tells TODAY.com that Meyden has been charged with three counts of class B felonies, 3 counts of class C felonies and three counts of class A misdemeanors (on a scale with “A” the most serious).

“‘A Misdemeanors’ have a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail, ‘C Felonies’ have a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and ‘B Felonies’ have a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison,” says the spokesperson, adding that all charges include fines.

The larger debate over sleepovers

Sheryl?Ziegler, a Denver psychologist, tells TODAY.com that stories like these, however rare, can be frightening for parents.

"Parents should be aware of where their kids sleep and what goes on in that home," she says. "Prior to agreeing to a sleepover, ask the hosts: Will older children or siblings or other adults be present? Does the home contain any weapons or drugs? Will kids have unsupervised access to technology?"

These conversations can be uncomfortable, says Ziegler, if parents worry about offending families; however, it's important to push through discomfort.

"What sleepovers represent, aside from socialization, is the beginning of independence," she says. And if parents don't think their kids are ready, that's fine, she adds: "It's not the job of younger kids to be independent."

Ziegler approves of "sleep-unders," a trend seen on TikTok, in which parents concerned about the risks of sleepovers allow children to stay at a friend's home until late in the evening, then pick them up.

"There are many ways to give a child appropriate levels of independence and socialization without sleepovers," she says.

If you allow sleepovers, Ziegler says kids should understand the difference between "bad" and "good" touch — a conversation that ideally takes place during preschool years — and that you're available to pick them up during the night, if they want to come home.

Parents should listen to their gut when it comes to sleepovers.

"If you're not ready," she says, "your kids aren't ready."

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