Laws aren’t made by Judges, they apply
the law, confirm Judge Barrett
Judge Amy Coney Barrett was unanimously voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 12-0 tally. The vote was along party lines with 12 Republicans voting in favor of the Barrett nomination while the 10 Democratic committee members boycotted the vote. On Monday, October 26, the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Judge Barrett.
It’s urgent that you call and ask your senators to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Congress requires that you provide your address when contacting your senators. This also enables our software to identify and send communication directly to the senators representing your state.
The analysis of research on Judge Barrett demonstrates she has a constitutional philosophy of a limited judiciary. This means she opposes judicial activism –– whereby judges act as a super-legislature, writing laws from the bench. Judge Barrett has said, “What we want in a Justice, [is] someone who applies the law, who follows the law where it goes and doesn’t decide simply on the basis of partisan preference.”
Your senators need to be encouraged to stand strong against the coming liberal tsunami of intimidation and hate and confirm Judge Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Take action now. Call your senators and urge them to confirm Judge Amy Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A ‘horrific’ crisis. Hundreds of California Child Abuse reports intentionally
MADERA COUNTY, CA – Children faced “incredible pain and suffering” when a Madera County social worker intentionally discarded hundreds of child abuse reports last year, according to government emails uncovered in a Fresno Bee investigation.
Department emails examined by The Bee indicate at least some of the 357 reports may have been neglected for up to two months. The emails, obtained through a public records request, reveal a behind-the-scenes crisis in the fall of 2019 with Madera County Social Services workers scrambling to investigate hundreds of abandoned abuse referrals.
While sources said there is no known evidence that any child died as a result, emails show workers feared children suffered more abuse while reports were stuffed in waste bins and gathered dust around the social worker’s desk between September and November last year.
Deborah Martinez, the county’s social services director, outlined her dread in a Nov. 7 email to the county’s chief administrative officer at the time.
“There is no doubt that at a minimum, her actions placed children in danger,” Martinez wrote. “The ultimate impact to children and families (in) our community can’t be known but based upon some of the allegations that were made this social worker likely caused incredible pain and suffering.”
Dozens of the dumped cases were emergency reports — cases involving allegations of physical or sexual abuse, the emails show.
Multiple children later were removed from their homes days or weeks after their alleged abuse initially was reported, according to two department sources.
“Some were investigated and found substantiated — those kids would have been abused for that time,” one employee said in an interview. Two department employees were interviewed on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation for speaking with The Bee.
Officials have not released the name of the social worker at the center of the controversy, but have confirmed she no longer is employed at the department.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office in November launched a criminal investigation that remained open, more than four months after the case came to light.
Meanwhile, state officials said the Madera department never notified the California Department of Social Services. State authorities only learned of the case when The Bee contacted them for comment. State officials are scheduled to be in Madera this week.
The consequences and scope of the crisis remain unclear — and ongoing.
At least 75 of the 357 reports involved possible sexual or other physical abuse, requiring social workers to respond within 24 hours. Another 248 reports involved allegations of neglect and required a 10-day response, according to the emails.
Some of the cases may have been ignored for up to two months.
The outcomes of the remaining 34 reports are unclear, but may have ultimately been determined unfounded. Martinez, the county’s social services director, declined to say specifically, but noted that not every report leads to an investigation.
It’s unclear exactly how many children were involved in the 357 reports. Officials wouldn’t say whether each report is made for an individual child or whether reports group siblings together.
Martinez also refused to say how many children were removed from their homes in connection with the reports, saying those details were part of the ongoing criminal inquiry.
Two employees told The Bee some children would have been removed sooner had reports been investigated properly.
“All those reports could have led to a child’s death,” one employee said. “You don’t want a child to die on your watch. It’s the biggest fear for a department — a child’s death.”
Managers and supervisors were outraged when the problem finally surfaced in early November, according to the emails.
“They also state what was found puts children of Madera County at risk and in harm’s way,” Chris Aguirre, an eligibility supervisor, wrote in a Nov. 14 email to Martinez. “The story I was told is very disturbing and I am appalled at what the worker did. Any person would find the story horrifying.”
Martinez responded, acknowledging the department was “in crisis” and described it as “pretty horrific.”
“Something I never imagined we would be facing and we are working on safeguards to ensure that it can never happen again,” she replied to Aguirre.
Martinez learned of the deserted cases late in the day on Nov. 6.
The employee was placed on leave the following day and escorted from the building. Martinez initially declined to comment on the issue, including the worker’s status. But after The Bee obtained the department’s emails, Martinez confirmed the worker’s employment formally ended Nov. 12. She declined to say whether the worker was fired or quit.
A DEPARTMENT IN CHAOS
How the issue was uncovered remains unclear, and Martinez refused to say during a recent interview with The Bee.
All of the reports appear to have come through the department’s telephone hotline number, the emails reveal.
In the emails, workers describe “pieces of paper” and “post its” that “added up to referrals” found “on and around her desk.” Reports also were hidden in special locked waste baskets, typically used for shredded documents, employees told The Bee.
Workers described to The Bee seeing the locked blue waste bins taken into a conference room where they were dumped out. Workers searched for “blue sheets,” the form workers are supposed to fill out when reports come in through the department’s hotline.
Emails describe social workers racing to catch up with the backlogged caseload as the department conducted its internal review. Employees believed it would take up to a full month just to enter each case into the department’s system for review. On Nov. 15, an email was sent to all social workers interested in working overtime to help with the backlog.
Some of the referrals didn’t have a time or date indicating when the report came in. Employees in mid-November were instructed to enter “today’s date” in the appropriate field if they couldn’t find the proper date, emails show.
Supervisors and managers worried that some abuse reports may have fallen through the cracks altogether.
“Remember that this backlog dates back to September (maybe August but there is no evidence of that),” Danny Morris, deputy director of the Madera County Department of Social Service, wrote on Nov. 20.
The emails also reveal the challenges department supervisors faced sorting through the pile of abandoned reports, including questioning whether overtime pay was available, the effect on other cases, and the strain on workers.
“Social work supervisors would like OT (overtime) to process the backlog of CPS referrals that were just recently discovered,” a department supervisor wrote to Martinez in a Nov. 13 email. “Is this something you would be willing to discuss?”
Martinez responds to Aguirre saying “I can’t pay OT and going through the lengthy process to request authorization for straight time pay has not proven to be beneficial in accomplishing the goal.”
Eventually, social workers were paid overtime, but not social work supervisors, the emails show.
Supervisors also feared falling behind on other cases while the department worked through the backlog.
“I guess I am having a hard time figuring out which areas we can sacrifice and have lack of attention in order to meet the needs referenced,” Shanel Moore, a program manager, wrote in a Nov. 20 email.
It’s not clear when the department finally cleared those cases, but as of Jan. 2, the department still had 27 referrals to complete.
“Could we encourage our (social workers) to get them done as we would like to get these wrapped up soon so we can move on with our lives,” Heidi Sonzena, a program manager, wrote in a Jan. 2 email.
STATE LEFT IN THE DARK AMID CRIMINAL PROBE
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 7 opened a criminal investigation, the same day the social worker was suspended.
Kayla Serratto, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed the investigation continues. She declined to release any details. The Sheriff’s Office denied a public records request seeking case documents, citing a need to protect the now months-long investigation.
“Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office,” Serratto said.
A state official said the California Department of Social Services was unaware of the case until contacted for comment by The Bee.
“We were not informed by the county and made contact after (The Bee’s) referral about this,” said Scott Murray, spokesman for the California Department of Social Services. Murray confirmed the state now is looking into the matter.
State officials also acknowledged the county department was not legally required to alert the state. Murray on Tuesday said state officials are scheduled to be in Madera County this week.
Martinez refused to answer questions about why the state did not know about the case.
Emails show at least some of the department’s top people wanted to keep the episode quiet, even within the office. Supervisors discussed concerns over specific employees learning of the incident.
Officials also discussed the possible ramifications of The Bee’s investigation. Martinez on Dec. 11 wrote it was “unfortunate for there to be an article on this topic,” saying “the county could use a break.”
The following day, Martinez sent another email saying the department would “just deal with the aftermath.”
‘RED FLAGS’ MISSED?
Employees interviewed by The Bee said the department likely missed “red flags” in the weeks before the disaster unfolded.
Child abuse reports typically spike in the fall, from August to around October, when schools resume after the summer break, Martinez acknowledged.
“The largest segment (of reports) are from educators — teachers,” Martinez said.
But that didn’t appear to happen in the fall of 2019 — until the rest of the reports were unearthed and the catastrophe erupted, employees told The Bee.
Martinez wouldn’t comment on what may have motivated the worker to discard the referrals.
“That’s a terrible thing to happen,” said Michael S. Wald, an emeritus professor of law at Stanford, who has drafted major federal and state legislation regarding child welfare.
Wald said the larger question is whether the department had any safeguards in place and, if so, why they apparently failed.
“That’s the bigger issue,” he said.
Martinez also said she couldn’t comment on what actions have been taken to prevent similar situations in the future because her department was still discussing preventive measures.
One employee said they were not aware of any new policies or safeguards, but said at least some steps have been taken, including the addition of a new group of hotline workers who screen calls.
“They completely brought in a new team,” an employee said.
NOT THE FIRST – OR WORST – BACKLOG EVER
News of the neglected abuse reports comes about two years after a 2018 Madera County Grand Jury report revealed a backlog of more than 1,000 cases in the department.
That unrelated backlog was linked to an “exodus of social workers” from the department between 2014 and 2016, the report found.
“During the period when DSS (Department of Social Services) was lacking social workers, a large number of client cases were left open, and services were not provided for these children,” according to the report. “There were over 1,000 of these referrals, some up to two years old.”
Martinez inherited the backlog of the more than 1,000 referrals when she took over the department in June 2017.
As the most recent crisis developed in November last year, Martinez reminded her colleagues she helped resolve the prior backlog through “aggressive and continuous recruitment,” hiring more workers, and implementing other accountability measures. That only came after failed attempts to reduce the backlog by having social work supervisors work extra hours.
Day care owner charged with Child
Abuse after allegedly hiding 26 children
behind false wall
Colorado Springs, CO – Earlier this week, Colorado Springs, Colorado, day care owner Carla Faith, 58, was charged with child abuse and attempt to influence a public servant after 26 toddlers were found behind a false wall at Faith’s day care facility last month.
The day care attached as a secondary building from Faith’s home underwent a welfare check on Nov. 13 when authorities came across two adults and more than 20 children under the age of three. The search began after a series of complaints that Faith “was housing more children in their care than their licensed allowed,” the City of Colorado Springs said in a statement.
Colorado Springs officer Janel Langdon-Issac discovered the children and two adults in the basement of Faith’s home after hearing children’s music, despite Faith denying of having a lower ground floor, according to ABC affiliate KRDO.
During the search, Officer Jordan Parker bumped into a wall and felt it move, KRDO reported. When Officer Parker pushed against the wall, authorities discovered a stairwell leading to a finished basement area.
“I spend a minute or two in my car with a tear in my eye because I’m trusting somebody else,” said Ethan Steinberg, an uncle of an enrolled child, in an interview with KRDO. “ It took about an hour until [police] realized where the kids were and that breaks my heart because I don’t know if my niece was down there.”
KRDO also reports that Faith was caught in a similar situation during the late ’90s but in California.
“It’s just not something that’s part of our application process, nor do we really have the authority to require that information,” said Erin Mewhinney, the Division Director Of Early Childhood Care and Learning, in an interview with KRDO. “We’re working with the state board of human services to allow the department the authority to require child abuse and neglect records from other states of an applicant is coming in from another state.”
Faith’s day care license only permitted her to care for up to six children between the ages of zero and 13, more specifically, only two of these children could be under the age of two, according to an affidavit obtained by KRDO.
“It’s so hard to trust your children with people and we felt we could really trust them,” said parent Jeanette Conde to KRDO. “ I’m completely betrayed, every parent that I’ve talked to, we all feel completely betrayed.”
New Zealand tycoon Sir Ron Brierley
arrested over Child Abuse material
IT IS A GOOD TIME… to stop the lies, coverups, witch hunts, and Law Makers that could care less what WE THE PEOPLE think or want. Drain the swamp, stop Our Law Enforcement Agencies willfully breaking Our Laws while covering crimes up of the rich and shameless.
One set of Laws for everyone, One Justice System For Everyone.
Brierley caught with ‘large amounts’ of child abuse material, say police after arrest at Sydney airport
New Zealand businessman Sir Ron Brierley has been charged after allegedly being found in possession of child abuse material, New South Wales police have said.
In August, Sydney detectives began an investigation into the possession of child abuse material in the local area, and “following extensive inquiries”, 82-year-old Brierley was stopped at Sydney international airport at 6.30am on Tuesday by Australian Border Force officials.
NSW police said in a statement: “The man’s carry-on luggage was searched before the contents of his laptop and electronic storage devices were reviewed, which are alleged to have contained large amounts of child abuse material.”
The man, from Point Piper, was taken to Mascot police station and charged with six counts of possessing child abuse material, police said.
Brierley has been granted conditional bail and is scheduled to appear at Downing Centre local court on 10 February 2020.
The tycoon retired from his final boardroom role in June this year at the age of 81 following a career as a corporate raider that stretched back to the 1960s. He was made a knight in 1988, for services to business management and the community.
He founded his first major enterprise, Brierley Investments, in New Zealand in 1961 using money raised from a stock tips newsletter he ran.
In the 1980s, his attention turned to Australia.
Over the following decades his corporate vehicles – Industrial Equity Limited and Guiness Peat Group – launched a series of attacks on some of Australia’s best-known companies, including brewer Carlton & United and lotteries group Tatts.
His aggressive shareholder activism towards boards, which frequently involved public attacks on under-performing directors, shook up what had been a relatively genteel and clubby business community.
New Zealand police refused to comment on whether they had played a role in the investigation.
18-month-old nephew of suspect’s girlfriend was found in landfill
DALLAS, TX – The man who confessed to police in July that he left a Dallas toddler in a dumpster now faces a murder charge in the boy’s death.
A grand jury indicted Sedrick Johnson in September on a capital murder charge in the death of Cedrick Jackson, the 18-month-old nephew of Johnson’s girlfriend.
Johnson has been in the Dallas County Jail since he was arrested in July. His bail is set at $1,003,000.
Cedrick’s disappearance July 10 triggered an Amber Alert before authorities found the boy’s remains the next day at a landfill on the boundary between Garland and Rowlett.
Johnson, the boyfriend of Cedrick’s aunt, confessed to police that he had put the toddler in a dumpster in northeast Dallas. Cedrick had been in his aunt’s care at that time, police had said previously.
Johnson told police that Cedrick had been swaddled in a blanket on the floor before he died, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit. He told police Cedrick had once “made a mess” with ketchup packets, so he began swaddling the 18-month-old tightly to prohibit his movement.
He told police he unwrapped Cedrick from the blanket after he heard him making noise around 12:30 a.m. The child began vomiting and became unresponsive, Johnson told police.
Johnson told police he gave Cedrick CPR for more than 30 minutes and that the child wasn’t moving but still had a heartbeat, according to the affidavit. After that, he drove to a dumpster and put Cedrick inside, he told police.
The capital murder indictment for Johnson says he intentionally caused the toddler’s death by “an unknown manner and means.” Johnson also was indicted on the injury to a child charge in September.
Johnson’s girlfriend, Chrystal Jackson, faces a charge of endangering a child in Cedrick’s death and disappearance.
In an arrest-warrant affidavit, police said Jackson lied to police for 19 hours about the amount of time she knew Cedrick was missing.
“Were it not for the actions and omissions by Suspect Jackson, law enforcement has every reason to believe the complainant could have been located, potentially alive, within hours of his removal from Suspect Jackson’s residence,” police wrote in the affidavit.
Jackson had called 911 early the morning of July 10, telling a dispatcher that her nephew had been abducted. She said only she, another child and Cedrick were home when a man entered the residence and took Cedrick, according to the warrant.
Police said Jackson repeatedly changed her story about when Cedrick went missing, according to the affidavit.
Police said she also sent “valuable witnesses” away from the location from which Cedrick went missing, referring to five other children who had been in the house at the time.
In forensic interviews, children in the home said they heard Cedrick crying in the early morning, and then “he stopped suddenly and disappeared,” police wrote in an affidavit.
Cedrick’s mother could not be reached for comment Monday. A few days after Johnson’s indictment, she wrote on Facebook that the boy’s aunt deserved the same charge as Johnson.
“You’re telling me this woman lied to y’all for over 19 hours when y’all could have possibly found my baby alive and the highest charge you can give her is child endangerment and her boyfriend gets capital murder,” DiShundra Thomas wrote.
Thomas said she wanted “proper and deserving justice” for her son.
Jackson, the aunt, has not been indicted on the child endangerment charge.