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County aims to remove children from home

A petition for child protection has been filed in Dakota County Court to take four children from a Rosemount man.

The Department of Social Services filed the petition last week after Khari Jerome Tillman was charged with child endangerment and neglect. Tillman was charged after videos were found on the Internet of him teaching his 15-year-old nephew how to smoke marijuana.

The petition, which was filed Oct. 27, says the children, who range in age from 15 to 4 years-old, are in need of protection because they are without proper parental care. The petition cited the verifiable presence of marijuana and possibly other drugs in the home, as the cause.

Two of the children are Tillman's biological children. Tillman was his nephew's legal guardian after his sister's death.

According to the petition, social services was first made aware of problems in the Tillman home, when an 8-year-old child had been picked up from the home and smelled strongly of marijuana.

A woman reported the incident and said he child described what the reporter understood to be making of "blunts," a blunt is a hallowed out cigar filled with marijuana.

Later, when the woman who reported the incident learned it would be investigated, she recanted the story and said it was a lie, according to the petition.

Social services referred the case to the Rosemount Police Department and set up a meeting with Tillman.

According to the petition, during that time social services received in the mail a collection of four videos. One of the videos clearly showed Tillman smoking marijuana with his 15-year-old nephew, who is one of the subjects of the petition.

According to the petition one of the videos was entitled "Karma," posted on January 13, 2010, and one was entitled "Free Class," posted January 12, 2010. The videos were captured from YouTube. During the video "Free Class," Tillman was shown instructing his nephew how to make a blunt. Both Tillman and the nephew were shown smoking marijuana and appeared to be under the influence of marijuana or another drug.

On the video "Karma" Tillman and the nephew were shown together smoking a blunt and again appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Both videos showed Tillman and the nephew in a setting which was later confirmed to be the kitchen of the Tillman residence. The videos were removed from the website shortly after a police interview at the Tillman residence on April 16.

At the interview, Tillman said he had not used drugs for a year. He said that his nephew may have been around him while he was getting high in the past, but that he never promoted or encouraged the use of drugs.

Both Tillman and the nephew, in separate interviews, denied any use of drugs in the Rosemount home and denied that any videos of drug use existed, according to the criminal complaint.

The 15-year-old has been in a corrections placement through Hennepin County probations since July. He is on probation in Hennepin County for robbery/assault charges. The boy told officers he used marijuana and alcohol use when he lived with his father in Hennepin County. The boy further reported that he was recently in trouble in school for possessing marijuana on school grounds.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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