Gabriel Fernandez social workers who ‘turned blind eye’ to murdered boy’s torture to have charges dropped today – The Sun
THE charges against four social workers connected to the case of eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, who was tortured and killed by his mother and her boyfriend, will be dropped Thursday.
Social workers Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement, as well as their supervisors, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt will not be charged in connection to the eight-year-old's death, the Los Angeles Times reported.
All four social workers were each charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of falsifying public records after the boy died in May 2013.
Prosecutors alleged they mishandled evidence of abuse the boy faced at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, and missed repeated red flags.
Judge George Lomeli had previously denied a motion to dismiss the charges against the social workers, saying they had demonstrated “an improper regard for human life” and “a lack of vigilance.”
Lomeli once said the social workers had not properly documented the abuse nor the mother’s repeated refusal to attend counseling.
The judge said he had reviewed the voluminous case files and noted that the defendants had overruled a scoring system set up to detect danger to children.
In June 2018, Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her part in her son’s death.
Her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, was sentenced to death.
Judge Lomeli characterized the duos actions as “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.”
He said it was the worst abuse he’d seen in nearly 20 years on the bench, telling the defendants he hoped they woke up in the middle of the night plagued by their actions.
“I hope you think about the pain you caused this child and that it tortures you,” Lomeli said. “I rarely say that.”
When paramedics arrived at the boy’s Palmdale home in May 2013, Gabriel had slipped out of consciousness. He had a fractured skull, broken ribs, burned skin, missing teeth and BB pellets embedded in his groin.
The eight-year-old boy was brutally tortured over eight months by his mother and boyfriend, despite making several brave pleas for help to his teacher.
Jennifer Garcia, Gabriel's school teacher, recalled how he once approached her and asked if it was "normal to bleed" after being hit with the metal part of a belt.
Chris Contreras, Gabriel’s uncle who adopted the child's other two siblings, broke his silence to mark the seven years since Gabriel’s death.
“Something brings it back in. It’s all those emotions are there. It is not any easier,” Contreras told ABC7.
“Unfortunately, I think this is something that’s gonna affect them the rest of their lives. One way or another.”
“I would show everybody that picture of Gabriel in the hospital. Because no matter how many times I saw Gabriel smile, when I think of Gabriel now, I picture him in that hospital bed, not waking up,” the uncle added.
Gabriel was rushed to the hospital with extensive injuries, but tragically passed away two days later after being declared brain dead.
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