Director Schaffner Wants Sex Abuse Victims To Hide!

September 29, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

This week I stood in the parking lot of Trumbull County Children Services with two brave young women. We were very close to the spot where they were sexually molested as 12 and 13 year olds. It took so much courage for them to get in the car with me and drive to a group of awaiting cameras including their old caseworker who stood outside during his work day filming the young women. The two recounted how they were preyed upon by a Youth Leader woman that was hired to protect them while at children services. This Dorm Mother actually would take overtime so she could sleep with one of the three girls during the night.

There were three girls age 12, 12 and 13 when the sexual abuse first started.

Image credit:  123RF Stock Photo

 

They each were left into the care of the Government because their own homes were broken, parents were addicts or a father was a molester.  Each of their lives had not been easy but they have overcome extreme cruelty to become good mothers, daughters, friends and employees.  Each of the three have given me more inspiration then what I could possibly gain from representing them.

The cruelest comment, after we announced a lawsuit against CSB for employing a pedophile, came from the Director Tim Schaffner.  His response to finding out that three preteens  were sexually abused by an employee was shocking. He said he was appalled that Attorney Engler would expose these girls. I have encountered many tone-deaf Government types in my 26 years of practice but this is the worse. Instead of expressing outrage that the abuse happened, or expressing concern for the girls, or being troubled… he was appalled that the girls would dare show their sweet faces This guy is running an agency that is supposed to protect children. These girls are heroes for giving a face to childhood sexual abuse. If you’re a victim you do not have to hide in a closet. The shame is not the victims but the pedophile and the agency that employed her and did nothing to stop her and protect young girls who could not have been more vulnerable.

Since I have first stepped up to take on the agency that permitted a known pedophile to rape a baby at its own office, I have been swamped with the calls of victims or parents or grandparents who are suffering at the indifferent hands of Trumbull CSB and others throughout the State. Others have joined the fight with the notable exception of no elected officials or judges who place kids into CSB. I cannot figure out how many murdered or abused children it takes before someone in power cares to act.  I suppose this is the same sort of thing that happened at Penn State. 

As an attorney we are taught to stay dispassionate from our clients in the course of litigation. I am shaking with anger. My clients are each beautiful, intelligent, caring young African-American women. They needed good foster parents to have taken them out the CSB hell they were placed into. But the reality is people want babies not young teens. I told each of these girls that I would have been proud to have been their father. I am not sure I could be a foster parent now but wish I had known these girls when they were 12.  There are other children out there.  They are victims of all sorts of terrible things. It is so sad that they had to be insulted and victimized one more time by a Director who believes victims of abuse should hide their faces. Shame on you Director Schaffner.

Attorney David Engler

Phone: 330-729-9777

http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website

Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal


KEEPING JAMES BROWN’S DRUMMER OUT OF JAIL. ONE TIME Y’All

August 21, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

Michael Georgiadis was a brand new puppy lawyer in Trumbull County back in the early 80’s. Like most new lawyers he cut his teeth on getting court appointments.  Every person has a right to lawyer and one will be appointed to them if they cannot afford to pay a lawyer.  It is a constitutional right.

Attorney Georgiadis who has now been practicing for 30 years told me the story of his early brush with celebrity criminal law. Judge Bernard sat on the Girard Municipal Bench and it was clearly his court.  No one dared challenge him for the position or his son who followed in his footsteps.  Some people were born to be Judges precisely because they never judged anyone until they had heard the facts, considered the law and then most importantly applied their well-earned common sense.  If you asked prosecutor and defense attorney alike who their favorite Judge would be; the Bernard father and son will always be at the top.

Attorney Georgiadis, skinny as a rail, meets his new client.  The Defendant, a black man in his late 50’s is accused of stealing from a K-Mart some merchandise that could be easily converted into cash.  He got caught red-handed. Mr. Jones had been down on his luck, he told his new court appointed attorney in court that morning. He  needed some cash to catch a bus back to Detroit or maybe it was for a fifth.  Detroit where was he had made his way to standing almost in the ray of fame of his band leader, the one and only Godfather of Soul,  Mr. James Brown.  Jones was the Godfather’s  drummer.  Of course Jones did not carry a certificate with him to prove his claim and the young lawyer had no way of knowing if this were true, but Jones had a quality of celebrity to him even if his clothes were ten years too old and alcohol and drug use had etched his face into that of a much older man.

The Great Judge Bernard presided in a court the sat on the second floor of Girard City Hall. It was cramped and normally hot at all times the year. It had a fake wood panelling that made you think you were in someone’s rec room.  The prosecutor’s office looked like a closet and was a place where justice needed to be dealt quicker than 5 card stud because everyone had someplace else they needed to be.

The case of State v. Jones is called and up comes Attorney Georgaidis and his maybe one time famous client, Jones. “What do you want to do Counselor?” asked the Judge. After a few stumbles about burden of proof and whether Jones actually made it out of the store with the goods…Georgiadis says to the Court, “Well really your honor my client simply wants to get back to Detroit and try to resume his career where he was the drummer for James Brown.  “Really”, says the Judge. “Is that true Mr. Jones?”  At that little encouragement Jones grabs two pencils from the bailiff’s desk which sat to the right of the judge’s Bench but somewhat lower and he proceeded to perform a rather nice drum solo on the judge’s Bench moving down to the right.  Once he got to the corner of the Bench and the Jury Box he gave a slick spin with pencils in hand then continued the beat down the entire length of the wood rail in front of the then empty jury box.  When he got to the final post he finished with a flourish, gave a final spin then went into a deep leg split.  The deputies, other defendants waiting with their attorneys , court clerks and the Judge gave a well-earned applause.

“That is enough for me”, said the Judge.  “I will find you guilty of the charge of theft but suspend all jail and fines and order you to return to Detroit at once”. “But you honor… thank you but I don’t have any money for the bus ride.” At that Judge Bernard reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty and ordered the prosecutor and the young defense lawyer to do the same.  “Son”, the Judge said to Attorney Georgiadis “take this man to the bus stop and buy him a ticket to Detroit”.  Attorney Georgiadis dutifully complied and once at the bus stop, bought the ticket and gave Jones the extra change. “Thanks” said Jones, “Stay real.”

That night Georgidis’ young wife asked if he made any money today.  Michael said “No it actually cost me $20 but the Godfather of Soul has his beat back.”

Attorney David Engler

Phone: 330-729-9777

http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website

Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal


Failure of Children Service Agencies is Epidemic

July 29, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

Private placement agencies if not monitored well by Children Service Boards can end in tragedy. In Trumbull County, Ohio there have been at least 5 murders of children who were either directly through foster placement or indirectly through custody orders placed with the abuser.

In Fairfield County, Ohio a 5 year old boy was made to stand out in the rain and cold as a punishment. The boy was taken by ambulance to ER after going into cardiac arrest. He has permanent neurological damage.  A private agency working under the County made the placement.  The agency did not inquire as to why the foster parents had been denied a license in Hamilton County, Ohio.

The failure of Children Protective Service agencies is an epidemic.

The New York Times reported earlier this year reported about the wide spread abuse in the City. I am quoting it in its near entirety.

The New York Times –

“Lawyers for 10 disabled children who were fraudulently adopted by a Queens woman more than 15 years ago and subjected to years of abuse have proposed a $68 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit filed on their clients’ behalf, according to a confidential court filing.”

Matthew Ratajczak/Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers,

“The proposal comes as a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn appears to be trying to mediate a settlement to the suit, filed in 2009, which seeks damages from New York City and three contract adoption agencies that placed the children with the woman, Judith Leekin.

Serial Abuser for Foster Money

The case has been seen as one of the most disturbing child welfare fraud cases in the city in recent years. Ms. Leekin used four aliases to adopt the children, who had physical or developmental disabilities, including autism and retardation, and later moved them to Florida. The children were caged, restrained with plastic ties and handcuffs, beaten with sticks and hangers, and kept out of school, according to court papers. An 11th child disappeared while in Ms. Leekin’s care and is presumed dead.

The suit asks that the 10 plaintiffs, now mostly in their 20s, be compensated for their years of suffering as well as for the services and treatment they will need for the rest of their lives.

The letter was filed publicly in October, but was quickly sealed after the lawyer wrote that it “referred to confidential discussions between the parties.” The New York Times obtained the letter while it was publicly available.

Ms. Leekin, 66, was imprisoned after she was convicted of fraud in federal court in Manhattan and of abuse in a state court in Florida. Federal prosecutors have said that as part of her scheme, she collected $1.68 million in subsidies from the city that went to support a lavish lifestyle.

When the 10 children were removed from her care in 2007, none had completed elementary school; only three could read and only at a third-grade level; and about half were declared either “totally incapacitated” or “vulnerable adults,” according to a report by a former Columbia University social work professor retained by the plaintiffs to examine the cases.

The 10 have since lived in Florida in state programs or on their own, and at least one is homeless, according to court filings.

New York City and the three private agencies have denied liability in the case, claiming that Ms. Leekin was a sophisticated serial criminal whose scheme fooled various professionals and, given the capabilities and practices of the time, would not have been foreseen or detected.

The agencies are HeartShare Human Services of New York, SCO Family of Services and the now-closed St. Joseph Services for Children and Families.

The agencies’ lawyer, Robert S. Delmond, did not respond to messages seeking a comment on Thursday. Lawyers for the city and the plaintiffs declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

In the now-sealed letter to Judge Go, Mr. Delmond described the $68 million demand as “a significant sum, which requires much consideration, thought, planning and involvement of corporate officers before they can reach a decision.” The agencies’ insurance carrier was reviewing the matter, he noted, and was “not prepared to make a settlement offer at this time.”

He requested more time to allow for further consultations with the insurer and meetings to discuss “possible settlement offers.”

It is unclear how the city and the private agencies might apportion any payout if a settlement is reached.

Jonathan S. Abady, a lawyer whose firm, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, has handled suits against the city and private agencies in cases involving abused and neglected children, said “there does appear to be a uniform indemnification provision” in the contracts the city has with such agencies.

“But the city has the ultimate legal responsibility for the child,” said Mr. Abady, whose firm is not involved in the Leekin suit.

In August, Theodore Babbitt, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, asked Judge Go to move the case forward because of the “fragile, unstable and precarious” condition of the plaintiffs. “They are desperate for care that cannot be provided through the Florida state system,” he wrote.

He cited three of the male plaintiffs, who ranged in age from 19 to 24: one had been on a round-the-clock suicide watch after multiple attempts to take his own life. Another had fathered children out of wedlock and was homeless. A third had been arrested for domestic violence against his older brother. “He is angry and depressed and bottles it up inside until he violently explodes,” Mr. Babbitt wrote.”

ifference towards the sexual abuse of children by men in leadership positions does not seem to be isolated only in Happy Valley.

Attorney David Engler

Phone: 330-729-9777 http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog http://familyfaultlines.com/

Also published on eGuardianship Blog https://eguardianship.wordpress.com/


If Only Trumbull County Leaders Would Be As Accountable as PennState Trustees!

July 16, 2012

By Attorney David Engler


The Louis J. Freeh report came out this week regarding the callous indifference shown by men in leadership at Penn State University towards child victims of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky.  Judge Freeh was the former head of the F.B.I. and a federal judge.  This Board of Trustees had requested a full throttled examination of the scandal, no matter how damaging.

 

One commentator stated the essence of the report was that Joe Paterno, the University President and Vice President all allowed Jerry Sandusky, a pedophile, on campus and bestowed upon him the gifts from which he would lure more young boys into his sick world.  We now know that Sandusky will be in jail for life and undoubtedly in hell thereafter.

 

I had stated when the scandal first broke that Paterno should be fired immediately. Now his reputation and legacy will be that he put the importance of the football program over the safety of children.  The others lost their jobs and at least one faces perjury charges.

 

Compare the Sandusky scandal to the one in Trumbull County, Ohio.  The case is remarkably similar: There, inside the Trumbull County Children Services facility, a pedophile named Cody Beemer was allowed lengthy, private, closed-door access to his 9 month old infant victim! Even though Trumbulls CSA was in possession of a Court Order prohibiting any such contact by the known pedophile, the staff at the CSA simply ignored the order. They also ignored what was going on behind that closed door, they never saw the pedophile rape an innocent child. He raped a 9 month old baby who had been placed into the CSAs protection specifically to prevent this type of attack. What exposed his heinous actions were his own cell phone. Left at the babys grandmothers house, she discovered the video he had taken with his phone of his actions inside the closed room in The Children Services Agency. He had plenty of time to create a sick movie of his rape of his own infant child and was monstrous enough to do so. Thankfully one human being stood tall, the Grandmother who promptly delivered the cell phone to the Police, who finally took appropriate action.  As I said, the Court acknowledges in their Order that the child should be protected and that no unsupervised visitation should ever take place. Both the Court and Childrens Services knew Cody Beemer. Not only would he come to sexually molest his own baby daughter, he also engaged in the sexual molestation of another infant outside the agency and will likely serve a life sentence for his crimes. But they also knew that Cody Beemer had previously raped his 3 year old sister.

 

Pedophilia has no cure.  He was not in any treatment. He was not chemically or physically castrated.  He was an immediate and present danger and CSB knew it. They put the baby rapist in a room without any supervision.  Why was he even allowed to be there? The State of Ohio’s investigation of Trumbulls CSA was beyond obvious:the CSA should improve their risk assessment. Really? The Commissioners, unlike the Penn State Board of Trustees, have said nothing. The Sheriff said nothing.  The County Prosecutor belatedly brought in the State to conduct an investigation.  This request was made well before the P.S.U. Scandal.  No response. When the State investigated it was discovered that the records were not only incomplete but in the end one supervisor got two weeks off, during the holidays for fudging visitation records. That is all that has happened.

 

A board member and high ranking County law enforcement official said the event was unforeseeable. Let me make this final analogy.  What would happen if a ten year old boy was put in a cell with Jerry Sandusky or any other pedophile behind bars? Are the leaders of Trumbull County so naive to think that a pedophile cares where they are at?  Most of the rapes occur with known family members or people in a position of trust.

 

Penn State stated this week that the Freeh Report was the first step toward creating a culture of transparency and accountability. Sadly for Trumbull County it appears that allowing a pedophile to have free access to victims on its property is not such a big deal. As Commissioner Frank Fuda told me once “these sort of things happen to kids in Children Services” (I was telling him about the insane number of murdered children in Trumbull County over the last ten years)

 

Callous indifference towards the sexual abuse of children by men in leadership positions does not seem to be isolated only in Happy Valley.

 

Attorney David Engler

Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog http://familyfaultlines.com/



Government Seeks to Jail Facebook Critic….Happening in United States…..Actually Trumbull County!

May 26, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

A critic uses Facebook and Social Media to challenge government rule. The critic gains followers online. The government seeks to jail the critic.

 

FOUNDING FATHERS APPALLED !!!

This sounds like a rogue Mid-East nation or third world African state.

It is not.

This is happening in Trumbull County, Ohio.

A small businessman, Berry Meadows, who has run a septic installation company for many years had an argument with The Trumbull County Health Department.

TCHD is in charge of approving septic systems and responsible for approving installers.  The nature of the dispute is really not important. It has been the reaction of the government to quash any dissent that is down-right scary.

Mr. Meadows runs a company called Digging Dirt, LLC.  He is married to a very bright woman, Deanna, who assists in running their business.  They have three beyond adorable children and believe fiercely in the Word of God. What they thought was wrong, was a decision made by TCHD in conjunction with the State of Ohio EPA, or maybe on its own, to deny a septic system that Digging Dirt believed would produce a clean effluent and cost homeowners $3000 less per installation.  The Meadows believed the County had either directly or indirectly created a monopoly for one brand of septic system in the County and had cost the taxpayers of Trumbull millions of dollars.

So they took their dispute to the social media. They create a group site on Facebook called Trumbull County Septic News and it immediately gets followers. The Meadows do some digging of their own into ‘how things work’ and discover some real dirt!

They uncover what they believe to be a pattern of favors for friends of TCHD.
They fight to get public records. They sue TCHD for failure to provide the records. 
They ask for records to either prove or disapprove whether the Health Commissioner actually works the hours he is contracted to provide.
It’s a sweetheart job the health Commissioner holds and he refuses to release records that would show when he shows up to work.  He claims that such records pose a security risk.  Mind you that we are talking about a local health department and not the NSA.

The Trumbull County Septic News starts to take off.  The Meadows post the rants of the Health Commissioner, Dr. Enyeart on the website.  They post video of the entire meetings.

Kaboom. 

The Meadows ask for records that show the possibility that the local Sheriff got favorable treatment for a property with a non-compliant septic system. The property is owned by the Sheriff’s son and maybe there is nothing wrong, except Mr. Meadows asked for the records. 
He then asks for the records of the Board’s attorney who gets $3250 per month for a part-time gig.  The records show that the Board’s attorney didn’t have to pay up front for an inspection like most citizens. Once again maybe everything is kosher with the process, but it looks messy.

What happens next is straight from China’s or Syria’s play book of how to deal with a critic:

First call him crazy to anyone that will listen.

Next do not allow him or her to speak at the public meetings.
The local board hires the Sheriff’s office to post an armed guard and stand over seemingly anyone who has the temerity to make a public record request. 
Dr. Enyeart himself asks for the guard to be present at the Health Department.
And then when the subtle forms of intimidation do not work…..seek to imprison your critic.

 Amazingly the very top of the Sheriff’s chain of command gets involved with the case and seeks out a customer of Digging Dirt from 2007 that had a dispute.  The customer does not seek criminal charges but rightfully was claiming that they deserved a refund. They take their contract dispute to civil court and name Wells Fargo as a Defendant since they believe Wells Fargo released money in 2008 that should not have been released.  But the Sheriff’s office takes a contract case that is nearly 5 years old and charges Berry Meadows with felony Theft by Deception! 

The Health Department posts the newspaper article of my client’s arrest on its government website!

The high ranking Sheriff’s official then finds another customer of Digging Dirt and uses that case to file a criminal complaint for Theft by Deception. 

In Ohio and every other jurisdiction Theft by Deception is used when someone promises to do something that they have no intention of ever doing or delivering something that they cannot deliver in order to get someone’s money.  Digging Dirt had been doing hundreds of quality installs. This was not the scam of the door to door siding salesman taking a deposit then skipping town.

It is not coincidental that after months of posting damaging information about the Health Department and possibly the Sheriff’s office that a criminal charge is initiated, investigated and brought by the Sheriff’s office on civil matters that were very old.

What is amazing is that the local government officials could not contain themselves from understanding that their actions are nothing short of strong armed goons going out of their way to quiet opposition. 

This government and others are going to have to come to grips that they need to treat their social media critics with the same deference they treat the traditional news media.  I know they might like to jail a reporter or two, but it is against the law. 

Why can’t they look at their great government jobs and benefits and be happy to have them, instead of risking all of it to put some small businessman out of business and in jail.  Our framers of the Constitution called it the First Amendment for a reason.  They didn’t think to place it eighth or fifteenth or forget to list it at all.  It is the First Amendment and it guarantees that we will have free speech. Here is the entire First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Oops maybe the local Health Board forgot about petitioning of government for a redress of grievances. Get used to it government.  Facebook, Twitter and blogs is part of the new press.  Do not try to jail your critics.  Try listening to them. Act like you understand that the truth will always come out.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog http://familyfaultlines.com/ and on eGuardianship.com http://eguardianship.wordpress.com//


Can A Social Service Agency Be Saved? – Trumbull County CSB, Again.

April 19, 2012

By Attorney David Engler

The former Director of Trumbull County Children Services resigned yesterday and was replaced by Timothy Schaffner, current director of Valley Services, which is a local social service provider with long standing contacts and contracts with CSB. This is not just a local story but one of how a dysfunctional organization can cure itself.

Government workers

I wish him well in the new job and hope that his initial comments of having many friends at the agency and an appreciation for their commitment to protecting children and families does not preclude leadership that requires culture change. The death roll of children who have had direct CSB involvement over the last 9 years should be cause for institutional soul searching, not “way to go Brownie” comments.

A change of director is not enough. The problems are not going to be solved with a simple “we will fix what the State says is wrong” and be done with this ugliness. There is a wide felt sense in the Trumbull County population that CSB serves the agency is one that cannot be trusted.

Already the new director has parroted the Board’s and old Director’s misplaced belief that my actions are those of a lawyer seeking a quick dollar and publicity at CSB’s expense. That attitude will spawn additional mistakes and then litigation and lead to the proverbial fix of putting lipstick on a pig. The lipstick will be happy billboards and sugar coated statements that we protect children and-by-the-way-trust-us.

Like I said earlier, I hope Director Schaffner makes a difference. I offer my help. CSB will eventually crumble if changes are not made to the organization. CSB needs to share in accepting responsibility for the boy that died from cancer where his parents never took him for care, or the toddler that was molested in the agency or processing home studies based on fiction or allowing children to be murdered by a person they approved as a caregiver.

Director Schaffner would be the rare government bureaucrat who understood that it is healthy in any relationship to accept blame, seek forgiveness and then redeem. The relationship is with the people truly served by CSB. They are largely poor, minority, drug dependent, uneducated and abuse victims themselves. Show respect to these citizens and you will get it back in return. Do not settle for just correcting what the State says you failed to do. Seek to be a leader and adopt the model of service deliveries being pioneered across the country. And for sure: stop blaming the victims (your clients). If a child is injured, abused, neglected, murdered or dependent it is our fault. Change the culture. Please.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog http://familyfaultlines.com//


Poor Auntavia. When a child is murdered it should be asked: “What did we do wrong?”

December 29, 2011

A note to my friends: Thanks for your showing of support. I appreciate it. I have written another article for you and hope you will look at it and give me your feedback. I consider the writing part of my job fighting for people.

By Attorney David Engler

Nick Kerosky, the Director of Trumbull County Children Services expressed succinctly the attitude of most bureaucratic children service directors, “There’s no support that it [wrongdoing] ever happened. I don’t believe it ever happened,” Kerosky said.

“While the death of a child is always a tragedy, it is unfair and unethical to assume that a death means that there must be wrongdoing on the part of CSB.” Director Kerosky said in a press release, in response to allegations that the 2003 death of 3 year old Auntavia Diggs was in part due to CSB’s inaction

Kerosky believes that one, two or three children deaths in Trumbull County, Ohio during a 6 year period should not give rise to criticism of CSB. I suppose he is talking about me when he suggests it is unethical to assume a death means that there must be wrongdoing on the part of CSB.

I will not comment about my pending action on behalf of a dad who lost his only child, a daughter, (without being represented,) to a foster-parent who quickly murdered the little 22 month old, strangling the life out of her. CSB said she would be a good foster parent. She left the impression of her ring on the baby’s neck.

No I want to talk about poor Auntavia who was tortured, burned and then murdered by people CSB said were appropriate to watch children.

Relatives say Ethel Wilbert-Bethea who is serving 21 years for murder reached out to CSB three times to give the baby back. CSB’s records, which we learned from the State Audit are sometimes ‘adjusted after the fact’, reflect a Hogan’s Heroes Sargent Schultz mentality of “I’ve seen nothing. I’ve heard nothing.”

5 months earlier in 2003, little 4 year old Logan Guiton was murdered while in foster care by Michael Ledger. His head was cracked against a wall in the house where he was placed by CSB. Ledger is serving 15 years to life. The CSB director at that time said there were no records to suggest CSB had any culpability.

This is the point: when any child in their care dies, it should be assumed that children services erred. An agency should not be afraid to look at itself in every instance and find out how it could have prevented the tragedy.

Look at The CSB mission statement. …it is to protect children in Trumbull County from being abused in their schools, homes and to especially protect those children from the most likely abuser, a family member. The standard of care becomes even greater when the child falls into the care and custody of CSB. It would seem that a child being molested in CSB’s own building would be a clear case of a colossal CSB screwup when it was known or should have been known that the father was a voracious sexual predator who had his siblings removed from his home when he was released by department of Youth Services. While in Mahoning County lock up as a juvenile, he was a sexual predator. The grandmother complained to CSB about him being a sex offender. CSB does not keep notes, when it does not fit its story.

Trumbull County Children Services Bureau fails when a child gets sexually abused. Anywhere. Anytime.

It will happen again. And at every turn CSB should be asking itself what did we do wrong. This doesn’t mean CSB will be sued. It is a fundamental shift in philosophy from what Kerosky said about the murder of poor Auntavia, to a more principled belief, that when it comes to the safety of our children there is no margin of error. There can be no hesitancy to act. Each tragedy should be a moment to learn from mistakes and work harder to prevent the loss of a child in the future. CSB is protected from just about every form of liability except the one that springs forth from the expenditure of 15.5 million dollars of taxpayer money each year to affirmatively keep kids from dying. CSB is in a statistical tsunami of children’s deaths and abuse and its answer is to say bad things happen. The rate of children’s death by caregivers in Trumbull County is either a statistical anomaly or an indication that something is broken and needs fixed.

“Poor Joshua! Victim of repeated attacks by an irresponsible, bullying, cowardly, and intemperate father, and abandoned by respondents who placed him in a dangerous predicament and who knew or learned what was going on, and yet did essentially nothing except … dutifully recorded these incidents in [their] files.” It is a sad commentary upon American life, and constitutional principles – so full of late of patriotic fervor and proud proclamations about “liberty and justice for all” – that this child, Joshua DeShaney, now is assigned to live out the remainder of his life profoundly retarded. Joshua and his mother, as petitioners here, deserve – but now are denied by this Court – the opportunity to have the facts of their case considered in the light of the constitutional protection that 42 U.S.C. 1983 is meant to provide.”

This was the famous dissent given by Associate Justice Harry Blackmun in the DeShaney v. Winnebago County Children Services case that stands as law today. The mother of Joshua had sued the county CSB for allowing the child to go back to the care of his father despite a clear indication that the father was a child abusing bully. A child was abused by his father and CSB failed to act. The majority in the case stated that Joshua could not recover from Winnebago County because the federal laws are meant to protect violations of a state actor, not a private actor like Joshua’s father or in the case in Trumbull County, Wilbert-Bethea who murdered Auntavia. The Supreme Court did say that there might be state court remedies, but those are unlikely since governmental immunities protect CSB from all but the most egregious acts of indifference. They are not protected however when the offender who kills or molests is an agent of the State like a foster parent or the harm takes place on its own property.

It is unlikely that CSB will change from within and become the type of agency that understands that every death of a child is one too many and at each death or each incident of abuse CSB should ask itself what it did wrong.

Our victimized children do not fail us, we fail them.
CSB is given $15.5 million dollars a year to perform a job the rest of us believe is proper and right.

And this is not a condition that is found just in Trumbull County, Ohio. It has happened with three murders of children in Hamilton County this past year.

The State of Florida, after the sickening murder of a young boy and girl by their adoptive father, revamped its entire child protective service organization to allow not-for- profits and faith based groups a chance to be held more accountable than government agencies grown indifferent with time and attitudes of “it wasn’t me.”

Yes there should be no shame in each time a child is murdered, abused, or abandoned for the wealthy tax payer funded agency to say to itself, “what did we do wrong.” Not to take this attitude will only lead to more unspeakable horrors.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal


%d bloggers like this: