A Los Angeles County judge ruled Monday that four social workers accused of criminal negligence in the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy they were charged with protecting should stand trial, allowing prosecutors to push ahead with a case that has sent a chill through the ranks of child protection workers nationwide.
Gabriel Fernandez died in 2013 after 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 prosecutors also turned the spotlight on four former Department of Children and Family Services employees, accusing them of felony child abuse and falsifying public records.
Prosecutors alleged 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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