KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A Michigan judge has dismissed allegations that a Polish-born doctor facing deportation bit his daughter, though it's unknown whether the ruling will help him remain in the country.
The child abuse allegations triggered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to investigate Lukasz Niec, 43, who legally came to the U.S. at age 5.
Niec's attorney, Deanna Kelley, told the Kalamazoo Gazette that a judge tossed out the allegations earlier this month after finding they weren't substantiated.
Niec faced a child neglect charge after an investigation by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, though prosecutors didn't pursue criminal charges.
Federal immigration officials arrested the Kalamazoo doctor in January, and later released him on a $10,000 bond.
Two misdemeanor convictions on his record make him eligible for removal proceedings. The 1992 convictions, dating back to when Niec was in high school, were for malicious destruction of property and receiving stolen goods.
Niec said his immigration court hearing is scheduled for November 2019. He said he doesn't know if the dismissal will affect his immigration case, but he's hopeful.
He blamed his ex-wife for the allegations, and said he's been fighting in court to have more time with his daughter.
A custody case is ongoing, according to Kelley.
Kelley said the child's mother has made several attempts to limit Niec's time with his daughter, including filing for sole custody. The child's mother declined to comment.
"He just wants to be a dad," Kelley said. "He wants to see his daughter and do the things society recognizes as a really good thing for a child, to have a good solid relationship with both his parents."
Niec said he and his ex-wife have agreed to co-parenting counseling.
Niec re-married in July 2016. He and his wife both have a daughter from a previous relationship.