Shelby County authorities arrest mother accused of endangering children's mental state

Kursti Agnew (Source: Shelby County Jail)
Kursti Agnew (Source: Shelby County Jail)

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - An investigator with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, under direct supervision of the district attorney, has filed charges against a woman on two counts of child endangerment, under rare circumstances of danger to her children's mental and emotional state.

Kursti Agnew, 23, of Timpson, is also charged with one count of false report to a peace officer.

According to a press release, the false report charge stems from a report Agnew made to authorities on Feb. 2, which contained a number of untruths. The press release states Agnew has waged a campaign against the family of her children's father over the past year as part 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, which have been investigated and found to not be true, according to the press release.

"But that is not why I approved going forward with the charges," DA Stephen Shires said. "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 Sheriff Willis Blackwell and Shires have filed charges on this crime 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," Shires said. "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."

"District Judge LeAnn Rafferty signed the warrants," Shires said. "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."

Agnew was booked on the charges on Sunday and bonded out the same day.

Agnew's attorney was not available for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

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