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Social Worker Exonerated

April 14, 2006 permalink

Last year we twice reported on the case of Denise C Moore, whose actions led to the death of her ward through failing to check the criminal records of a prospective adoptive parent, a case similar to that of Jeffrey Baldwin. See January 2004 and February 2004. She was convicted of the crime of obstruction of justice, but given a sentence of probation, light for a case involving the death of a child.

Well, social workers do not need to worry. Her conviction has been overturned on appeal. So once again, we know of no case in which a social worker has been held accountable for harm to her ward, even fatal harm.



Court overturns caseworker's conviction in boy's death

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a former caseworker's conviction on a charge stemming from the death of a 4-year-old boy whom she helped place with an abusive family.

A jury in 2005 cleared Denise C. Moore of two counts of negligence in Anthony Bars' death but found her guilty of obstructing justice. A judge sentenced her to 18 months probation.

The appeals court ruled Wednesday that while Moore was negligent in how she handled placing Anthony and his twin sister, LaToya, she was not guilty of obstruction. The court also said a five-year statute of limitations had expired by the time the state charged Moore.

Prosecutors had claimed Moore lied about doing a proper background check on L.B. and Latricia Bars, who adopted the twins in 1999. They said a check would have found three substantiated cases of abuse in the couple's home and that L.B. Bars was convicted in 1987 of felony battery for whipping his daughter with an extension cord.

Anthony Bars, 4, was beaten and starved before dying in January 2002. His sister was left mentally handicapped by the abuse.

The Barses were convicted of child neglect. Latricia Bars was sentenced to 13 years in prison, though a judge later reduced that to 10 years. L.B. Bars was sentenced to eight years.

The case prompted changes in the state's child-welfare system, including the creation of a new Department of Child Services and hiring more caseworkers.

"This case represents a tragic failure in the system that ought to have protected (the children) from being placed in an abusive home," the appeals court wrote.

Source: Fort Wayne News Sentinel