Charges Upheld Against L.A. Social Workers Accused of Child Abuse in Death of Gabriel Fernandez

Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli denied a motion to dismiss child abuse and other charges against Kevin Bom, Stefanie Rodriguez, Gregory Merritt and Patricia Clement, seen left to right in court on Sept. 13, 2018. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli denied a motion to dismiss child abuse and other charges against Kevin Bom, Stefanie Rodriguez, Gregory Merritt and Patricia Clement, seen left to right in court on Sept. 13, 2018. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County judge on Thursday denied a motion to dismiss child abuse and other charges against four social workers in the killing of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, concluding that the Palmdale boy’s death had been “foreseeable.”

“I have spent a lot of time, needless to say, on the case,” Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli said. “This isn’t something I did by the seat of my pants.”

The ruling came more than a year after another judge concluded that “red flags were everywhere” before Gabriel was killed by his mother and her boyfriend, and that the social workers mishandled evidence of escalating abuse and failed to file timely reports.

Gabriel died in May 2013 after months of torture and abuse, prosecutors say.

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