Criminal Case Dropped Against L.A. County Social Workers
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has dismissed charges against four social workers charged with criminal negligence and falsification of records connected to the torture and death of an 8-year-old boy.
The victim, Gabriel Fernandez, was living in an abusive home. It was common knowledge, as numerous records and testimony indicate. Employees with the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services who were assigned to the case mishandled evidence related to his abuse, according to prosecutors, and failed to file timely reports. Prosecutors alleged they even intentionally falsified material before prematurely closing the boy’s file. Fernandez was allowed to stay in the home where he was eventually tortured and beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend.
The case was a black eye on LADCFS. It also marked the first time social workers in L.A. County had faced criminal charges for duties related to the job.
In January, however, an appellate court panel ruled that the social workers should not face criminal charges, paving the way for last week’s decision.
“Although there may be consequences to social workers who fail to fulfill” their obligations, “the consequences do not include criminal liability for child abuse,” the panel said.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.