Two former social staff and their supervisors have been ordered Monday to face trial on falsifying data and youngster abuse costs involving the dying of an eight-yr-previous Palmdale boy whose mom after which- boyfriend are charged together with his homicide.
The social staff and two of their supervisors — Stefanie Rodriguez, 31, Patricia Clement, sixty six, Kevin Bom, 37, and Gregory Merritt, sixty one — have been fired from their jobs following an inner investigation into the Might 24, 2013, dying of Gabriel Fernandez.
All 4 are charged with one felony rely every of kid abuse and falsifying data and resist 10 years in jail if convicted.
The boy’s mom, Pearl Fernandez, and her then-boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, are each awaiting trial on a capital homicide cost stemming from her son’s demise. The District Lawyer’s Workplace plans to hunt the dying penalty towards the 2.
Gabriel’s demise prompted a firestorm of criticism of the Los Angeles County Division of Youngsters and Household Providers over reviews that social staff repeatedly visited the household’s residence in response to allegations of abuse, however the boy was left within the custody of his mom.
Prosecutors stated the teenager had a fractured cranium, a number of damaged ribs and burns over his physique.
Palmdale elementary faculty instructor Jennifer Garcia, in testimony in late January within the preliminary listening to for the foursome, stated she made her first name to a toddler welfare hotline to report Gabriel’s accidents greater than six months earlier than he was killed.
Garcia taught first grade at Summerwind Elementary Faculty for 5 years and Gabriel was a brand new scholar in her 2012 class and had plenty of behavioral points, she stated.
“He was indignant, he would kick youngsters underneath the desk,” the instructor stated.
At first, she despatched notes house to the mom about his conduct and obtained them again signed, however Garcia ultimately stopped doing so as a result of she believed the mom could be retaliating towards the boy.
Garcia stated she suspected drug use within the boy’s residence based mostly on his comparability of some picture in school to a bong and a time when he “pretended to snort one thing off of his desk.”
Gabriel was anxious about his homework and afraid to go residence at occasions, the educator stated. The primary signal of abuse was when he informed Garcia that his mom hit him with the buckle finish of a belt and made him bleed, asking his instructor if that was “regular,” she testified.
Garcia stated she responded by calling the hotline on Oct. 30, 2012, and obtained a name again the subsequent day from Rodriguez, who advised the instructor that she was assigned to the case and “would exit and examine.”
In November 2012, Gabriel confirmed up with bloody scabs on his head and chunks of his hair reduce off and informed the instructor “his mother hit him … punched him within the face,” Garcia stated, prompting her to name Rodriguez once more.
“As time went on and new accidents stored showing, I stwas occurring (with the case),” Garcia testified.
When the boy got here to high school in January 2013…