In a case that has sent a chill through the ranks of child protection workers nationwide, a Los Angeles County judge will soon decide if there is sufficient evidence to put four social workers on trial for criminal negligence in the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy they were charged with protecting.
Gabriel Fernandez died in May 2013, after suffering months of torture and abuse at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, according to prosecutors. The two are awaiting trial on capital murder charges.
But the spotlight is also on four former Department of Children and Family Services employees who are charged with felony child abuse and falsifying public records.
Prosecutors allege that caseworkers Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement and supervisors Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt ignored evidence of repeated abuse and minimized Gabriel’s injuries.
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