California resident Melissa Cook thought she was doing a good thing in 2015 when she agreed to act as a surrogate for a deaf U.S. postal worker who wanted children of his own.
According to earlier reports, Cook was paid $33,000 to undergo in-vitro fertilization and carry fertilized embryos for the Georgia man, who has been identified as Chester Shannon Moore Jr.
But not long after the procedure, the surrogate and father-to-be got a big surprise — she was pregnant with triplets.
The Georgia postal worker panicked. He said he wouldn’t be able to afford all three children, and he asked his surrogate to abort one of them.
Cook was horrified by the request and refused. She told the New York Post:
“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right.”
The father-to-be threatened Cook with a lawsuit that would strip her pay, but he ultimately conceded to letting the pregnancy continue. In February 2016, Cook gave birth to all three babies, and they went home with the now-51-year-old father.
Now, a new affidavit filed Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court by lawyers on behalf of Cook reveals the toddlers may be living in “deplorable” conditions.L.A. Superior Court
According to People, concerns over Moore’s ability to care for the 18-month-old boys were raised as soon as they were born at a Los Angeles Hospital.
The documents state the head nurse at the hospital allegedly “called the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and told the department that [Moore] was unfit to raise the children, and the children should be taken from him.”
Moore’s own sister, Melinda Burnett, outlined a number of accusations against her brother in the affidavit, which she said was out of “moral obligation.”
The sister stated her brother is living with the triplets in his parents’ filthy basement, alongside his 28-year-old “longtime heroin addict” nephew.
The affidavit alleges Moore doesn’t changes his children’s diapers often, and he has been “forcing the three young children (now 18 months old) to eat some of their food off of the dirty floor in the house.”
Moore’s home is allegedly often filled with thick smoke because his father is a “chain-smoker.”
A defense lawyer for Moore, who is the same man who organized Cook’s surrogacy, told People the allegations were “filled with a bunch of lies.”
The court filing aims to remove the children from Moore’s care and put them into protective custody, according to the Orange County Register.
Cook said that thinking about the toddlers living in those conditions is a “horror story,” and that they deserve better.
The case is expected to be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court next week. Watch coverage of the original story, via ABC, below: