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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Child Proetctive Services Investigator Abuse

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: CT

    I'm a teacher and I was recently falsely accused of misconduct with a student. The police became involved as well as the DCF (Department of children and Families). I expected the case to be unsubstantiated as the alleged victim defended me and said nothing happened in her statement to the police.

    I hired an attorney. I also contacted DCf to ask what the status of the investigation was 2 weeks after the initial report as I was unjustly and illegally forced to resign and I was and still am eager to get my job back. The DCF investigator informed me that he had not even begun his investigation as the police has not called him back. He stated that I was on his list of individuals to interview. I replied to him that per my attorney i would be exercising my 5th amendment rights and would not be sitting down with him for an interview. He replied to me "Well that doesn't make you look good."

    To my absolute shock and horror, he went ahead and substantiated the allegations against me as the girl changed her story and even added some new twists.

    Since the DCF investigator is essentially Judge, jury and prosecutor do I have any case for asking that these substantiated allegations be dismissed due to his prejudice and bias against my right not to self incriminate?

    I have asked for a substantiation hearing and I will know on Monday when it will be. i read the DCF report and it is full of changing stories, contradictions and inconsistencies a logical reasonable person would see right through the lies but Child Services are neither.

    P.S. I'm trying to use my lawyer as least as possible for research in some regards as I have almost no money since losing my job so I'm try to do the leg work on some things myself before I talk with him about it. No criminal charges have been filed as of yet and it has been 3 months. So if I have any recourse it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2009
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    256

    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    If you had an attorney representing you, you never ever EVER should have contacted them on your own. Unfortunately you can't undo the damage that you've done by calling them up and chatting.

    I suggest you contact your attorney ASAP.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    I have to agree. Despite what people may think or how they make you feel, DCF is NOT judge, jury, and prosecutor. Their role is to conduct interviews of the reporter, the victim, the accused, and any witnesses, provide documentation of those investigations, and give an educated opinion to police as to whether or not the claim has any potential basis for official law enforcement investigation, which could end up with the forwarding of a criminal charge to the DA. Then it has to get past the DA before formal charges are levied. DCF does the "leg work", what happens with that leg work is up to police and then the prosecutor. In other words, unless DCF feels confident that any wrongdoing can be 100% ruled OUT, they have an obligation to substantiate the charge and hand it off to police/DA to see if it passes the harder level of "probable cause" for criminal charges. Some cases do, some cases don't. We have no way to evaluate that from here.

    It's no surprise that the supposed victim has changed her story. I'd be expecting it to change again. In BOTH actual cases and bogus cases, this is a common dynamic, as persons around the child change THEIR reactions to what story the child is telling at the time, the child can either innocently or malisciously put new twists or tellings on the table. And every time a new person interviews the subject, or asks an old question in a new way, the answers will morph as well. So the changing of the story, in and of itself, doesn't have the impact of destroying an investigation the way it might on TV.

    There is obviously a lot of relevent information that we DON'T have that might allow a better read on what's happening behind the scenes, but odds are that YOU don't have that information either. And without knowing everything that has been said to DCF and by whom, anything we'd tell you would be an educated guess, at best. But for the sake of arguement, two obvious questions stand out:

    WHO reported the misconduct and who was it originally reported to FIRST?

    and

    WHAT led that person to believe that misconduct had occurred?

    If you haven't even had the substantiation hearing yet, then police involvement at this point is probably just an empty file with a case number sitting on someone's desk with a sticky note on it that says "Pending DCF substantiation". If DCF doesn't substantiate, they'll send a report saying that to police, who will stick it in the file, and close the case. If it IS subtantiated, then police will review DCF's interview notes and follow up with additional interviews of their own before determining what to do (if anything) with the case. Think of DCF as a "weeding out" step.

    For your OWN good, STOP talking to ANYONE BUT your attorney. The last thing you want to do is talk yourself into MORE problems. Sell stuff, flip burgers, borrow money, or whatever it takes - but realize that not only the future of your career is at risk, but if the charges are substantiated to police, that means criminal charges are possible and things only get worse and MUCH more expensive from there. This is NOT in ANY way to do it yourselfer and neither DCF nor the police are there to help YOU.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    My question essentially is "What happens when a DCf investigator clearly admits that your taking the 5th makes you look guilty to him?"

    Up until that point, he had not even started investigating. This happened about 3 months ago. I got the DCF report and there was no damage done by my conversation with him according to the report. I made the mistake of talking to him because I truly believed he was going to unsubstantiated the allegations as nothing happened and the now accuser defended me.

    Do I have any options to talk to my lawyer about the DCF investigator and what he said?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    Quote Quoting joyousguard
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    My question essentially is "What happens when a DCf investigator clearly admits that your taking the 5th makes you look guilty to him?"

    Up until that point, he had not even started investigating. This happened about 3 months ago. I got the DCF report and there was no damage done by my conversation with him according to the report. I made the mistake of talking to him because I truly believed he was going to unsubstantiated the allegations as nothing happened and the now accuser defended me.

    Do I have any options to talk to my lawyer about the DCF investigator and what he said?
    What happens is they substantiate the claim? They're an investigative department. A cop would say the same thing. You can't do anything about it. Read aardvarc's response. People who have this "I'm innocent, therefore I have nothing to hide" mentality quite often get themselves into crap, be it by allowing a search, talking to an official without an attorney present, etc..

    As for whether or not you have options to talk to your lawyer - um, why wouldn't you?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    Quote Quoting EA1970
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    What happens is they substantiate the claim? They're an investigative department. A cop would say the same thing. You can't do anything about it. Read aardvarc's response. People who have this "I'm innocent, therefore I have nothing to hide" mentality quite often get themselves into crap, be it by allowing a search, talking to an official without an attorney present, etc..

    As for whether or not you have options to talk to your lawyer - um, why wouldn't you?
    Well just wondering if I can file a complaint against the DCF investigator or something more substantial. An investigator telling you that pleading the 5th makes you look guilty in their opinion is gross misconduct in my belief however legally i'm not sure if I have a leg to stand on. Either way when I have the substantiation hearing I'm going to ask that the investigators comments be put on the record.

    I believe I should have my lawyer file a petition to have the allegations dismissed based upon the prejudiced comment just because it seems the proper course of action even if it probably will be rejected.

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    I have to agree. Despite what people may think or how they make you feel, DCF is NOT judge, jury, and prosecutor. Their role is to conduct interviews of the reporter, the victim, the accused, and any witnesses, provide documentation of those investigations, and give an educated opinion to police as to whether or not the claim has any potential basis for official law enforcement investigation, which could end up with the forwarding of a criminal charge to the DA. Then it has to get past the DA before formal charges are levied. DCF does the "leg work", what happens with that leg work is up to police and then the prosecutor. In other words, unless DCF feels confident that any wrongdoing can be 100% ruled OUT, they have an obligation to substantiate the charge and hand it off to police/DA to see if it passes the harder level of "probable cause" for criminal charges. Some cases do, some cases don't. We have no way to evaluate that from here.

    It's no surprise that the supposed victim has changed her story. I'd be expecting it to change again. In BOTH actual cases and bogus cases, this is a common dynamic, as persons around the child change THEIR reactions to what story the child is telling at the time, the child can either innocently or malisciously put new twists or tellings on the table. And every time a new person interviews the subject, or asks an old question in a new way, the answers will morph as well. So the changing of the story, in and of itself, doesn't have the impact of destroying an investigation the way it might on TV.

    There is obviously a lot of relevent information that we DON'T have that might allow a better read on what's happening behind the scenes, but odds are that YOU don't have that information either. And without knowing everything that has been said to DCF and by whom, anything we'd tell you would be an educated guess, at best. But for the sake of arguement, two obvious questions stand out:

    WHO reported the misconduct and who was it originally reported to FIRST?

    and

    WHAT led that person to believe that misconduct had occurred?

    If you haven't even had the substantiation hearing yet, then police involvement at this point is probably just an empty file with a case number sitting on someone's desk with a sticky note on it that says "Pending DCF substantiation". If DCF doesn't substantiate, they'll send a report saying that to police, who will stick it in the file, and close the case. If it IS subtantiated, then police will review DCF's interview notes and follow up with additional interviews of their own before determining what to do (if anything) with the case. Think of DCF as a "weeding out" step.

    For your OWN good, STOP talking to ANYONE BUT your attorney. The last thing you want to do is talk yourself into MORE problems. Sell stuff, flip burgers, borrow money, or whatever it takes - but realize that not only the future of your career is at risk, but if the charges are substantiated to police, that means criminal charges are possible and things only get worse and MUCH more expensive from there. This is NOT in ANY way to do it yourselfer and neither DCF nor the police are there to help YOU.
    In theory I see your point about DCF but they are judge, jury and prosecutor its simply a matter of semantics. They substantiated the allegations against me and have put my name on a central registry indicating I'm a danger to children. In addition if this substantiation is upheld a friend of mine who works for DCF said that they can keep my niece and nephew away from me.

    Semantics are Semantics, when the DCF has the power to essentially call me a pedophile and cause me to lose my job the proof is in the results of what they accomplish with their decisions and not a debate over the substance of their methods. This is far too much power for single individuals to have. Ruin your life over a preponderance of contradicting testimony, lies and manipulation of the facts.

    I have painstakingly responded to all the testimony in the DCf protocol report but the more I read about stuff the more I realize that quite honestly it is not out of the realm of possibility that they will send an innocent man to the electric chair with this insanity

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Child Proetctive Services Investigator Abuse

    Quote Quoting joyousguard
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    I also contacted DCf to ask what the status of the investigation was 2 weeks after the initial report as I was unjustly and illegally forced to resign and I was and still am eager to get my job back.
    I am not sure of the laws in your state, but I would think you might have good grounds to get your job back if the investigation was inconclusive in some way. Although, your resigning might be a sticky wicket as they will likely argue that you CHOSE to do so and did not have to.

    To my absolute shock and horror, he went ahead and substantiated the allegations against me as the girl changed her story and even added some new twists.
    That's unusual, but possible. Most are "unsubstantiated" which essentially means that something happened, but it cannot be proven or disproven.

    Given that you made no statement, I suspect that DCF either was compelled - or chose - to go with the victim's statement as fact. This can be the pitfall of remaining silent - it leaves but one interpretation of events. And if that interpretation is credible, it may stand.

    Since the DCF investigator is essentially Judge, jury and prosecutor do I have any case for asking that these substantiated allegations be dismissed due to his prejudice and bias against my right not to self incriminate?
    Theere may be an appeals process, but the "substantiated" conclusion is the opinion of the investigator. You are not sent to jail or convicted, nor even charged, as a result of that finding.

    If you have an attorney I assume he or she can find out about any appeals process ... though I suspect they will want you to make a statement in order to affect a change to the report.

    I have asked for a substantiation hearing and I will know on Monday when it will be. i read the DCF report and it is full of changing stories, contradictions and inconsistencies a logical reasonable person would see right through the lies but Child Services are neither.
    Ah, you have found out about the appeals process, then. Good.

    They are social workers and not attorneys or police officers, and very often their reports are not what we would like to see in a legal proceeding. That is why there are appeals proceedings and why the report itself is not generally "proof" in a civil or criminal trial.

    No criminal charges have been filed as of yet and it has been 3 months. So if I have any recourse it would be greatly appreciated.
    That is a good thing. And no charges may be filed. Even though DCF may have found the action to be substantiated, it may be insufficient for the police to articulate probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. I frequently have .. uh ... "disagreements" (aka vociferous arguments) with our CPS concerning the dispositions of such matters.

    I am not sure what kind of "recourse" you are seeking. You can certainly try to sue the person accusing you, but you would have to prove that she is knowingly and intentionally lying .... absent a recantation, that's gonna be tough. If they cannot prove it did happen, it is just as likely they cannot prove it did NOT happen. If you want to sue DCF, god luck with that one. You would have to show that the action was grossly incompetent or malicious in order to proceed with that. So long as the conclusion was minimally supported based upon the information presented, then the conclusion is not likely to be actionable. But, that's something the attorney can look at.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    You really need to be taking all of this up with your attorney.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Child Protective Services Investigator Abuse

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    I have to agree. Despite what people may think or how they make you feel, DCF is NOT judge, jury, and prosecutor. Their role is to conduct interviews of the reporter, the victim, the accused, and any witnesses, provide documentation of those investigations, and give an educated opinion to police as to whether or not the claim has any potential basis for official law enforcement investigation, which could end up with the forwarding of a criminal charge to the DA. Then it has to get past the DA before formal charges are levied. DCF does the "leg work", what happens with that leg work is up to police and then the prosecutor. In other words, unless DCF feels confident that any wrongdoing can be 100% ruled OUT, they have an obligation to substantiate the charge and hand it off to police/DA to see if it passes the harder level of "probable cause" for criminal charges. Some cases do, some cases don't. We have no way to evaluate that from here.

    It's no surprise that the supposed victim has changed her story. I'd be expecting it to change again. In BOTH actual cases and bogus cases, this is a common dynamic, as persons around the child change THEIR reactions to what story the child is telling at the time, the child can either innocently or malisciously put new twists or tellings on the table. And every time a new person interviews the subject, or asks an old question in a new way, the answers will morph as well. So the changing of the story, in and of itself, doesn't have the impact of destroying an investigation the way it might on TV.

    There is obviously a lot of relevent information that we DON'T have that might allow a better read on what's happening behind the scenes, but odds are that YOU don't have that information either. And without knowing everything that has been said to DCF and by whom, anything we'd tell you would be an educated guess, at best. But for the sake of arguement, two obvious questions stand out:

    WHO reported the misconduct and who was it originally reported to FIRST?

    and

    WHAT led that person to believe that misconduct had occurred?

    If you haven't even had the substantiation hearing yet, then police involvement at this point is probably just an empty file with a case number sitting on someone's desk with a sticky note on it that says "Pending DCF substantiation". If DCF doesn't substantiate, they'll send a report saying that to police, who will stick it in the file, and close the case. If it IS subtantiated, then police will review DCF's interview notes and follow up with additional interviews of their own before determining what to do (if anything) with the case. Think of DCF as a "weeding out" step.

    For your OWN good, STOP talking to ANYONE BUT your attorney. The last thing you want to do is talk yourself into MORE problems. Sell stuff, flip burgers, borrow money, or whatever it takes - but realize that not only the future of your career is at risk, but if the charges are substantiated to police, that means criminal charges are possible and things only get worse and MUCH more expensive from there. This is NOT in ANY way to do it yourselfer and neither DCF nor the police are there to help YOU.
    i can't tell you how much of a nightmare this has been for me and my family. I'm not sure what to expect from this hearing and truth be told I'm frightened by what might happen. Everything I have read essentially tells me that it doesn't really matter if the girls stories conflict or have changed or are filled with lies.

    Can you tell me what to expect at the hearing or some things that would give me the best chance of clearing my name?

    Quote Quoting EA1970
    View Post
    You really need to be taking all of this up with your attorney.
    i have talked with him about some stuff and he knows about the DCf guy and his comments. I'm just trying to run through all the possibilities before I waste his time with some things that might not really be practical. I run things by wise men usually to see if my logic is right. I don't want to bother him with an idea to file a motion for dismissal if I'm just completely off base when it comes to the practicality of it.

    I'm just frustrated, I've been treated like garbage at every step by all those involved except my family. I taught at a Catholic school and I was forced to resign and the Sister running the school turned her back on me without even investigating. Since I taught in a private school I get no unemployment and I had no health insurance. I asked the Sister if the Diocese could help me with a lawyer or some way to defended myself and she just said "no". I was never a problem at school and always volunteered for extra duties etc. but I was thrown out without an incling of mercy or christian charity.

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