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Child Protector Convicted
June 13, 2007 permalink
A child protection caseworker in Indiana has been convicted of 17 charges of sexually molesting two teenaged boys in his care, one of them mentally handicapped.
Caseworker Convicted Of Molesting 2 Teens
Man Was CPS Caseworker In Hamilton County
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- A former Child Protective Services caseworker was convicted Wednesday of molesting two teenagers, including an autistic boy he had mentored.
A Hamilton Superior Court jury of 10 men and two women found 38-year-old Cory Heinzman guilty of 17 counts and acquitted him of four. Three of the molestation counts are felonies that carry 20 to 50 years in prison each.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp said in closing arguments Tuesday that testimony proved the Acardia man breached the trust of the mentally challenged boys.
"This defendant ... preyed on these young men," she said. "He knew full well their limited abilities to make good judgments on their own behalf."
The form of autism in one of the boys limits his social skills to that of a 10-year-old, officials said. His mother called Riley Hospital for Children in May 2005 to report that her then-13-year-old son had been molested by Heinzman over eight months beginning in 2004.
After Heinzman was charged in that case, a 15-year-old boy came forward to accuse him as well, officials said.
Heinzman was an Indiana Department of Child Services caseworker for the 13-year-old, who had been referred to the agency after a school official reported that the boy claimed his mother abused him. Heinzman had worked for the agency in Hamilton County from 2002 until he was accused in the crimes.
Heinzman met the 15-year-old in 2004 and arranged for the boy to be admitted to a youth psychological treatment center, according to court testimony.
Heinzman testified that the younger teen, who is now 16, slept in the same bed during overnight visits to Heinzman's home but said both of them always wore clothes. He also denied molesting the other boy, now 18, who testified Heinzman fondled him when they went on drives during off-site visits from the treatment center.
Defense attorney Andrew Barker called the charges "lies and false allegations" and tried to convince the jury that there was no physical evidence to show improper sexual contact had taken place.
Eight of the 29 charges against Heinzman were dropped Monday after defense attorney Rodney Sarkovics convinced Judge Daniel Pfleging the state lacked enough evidence.
"What does that tell you about the state's case? It should tell you they're playing roulette," Sarkovics said. "If you question the truth or voracity of one of these charges, you have to question them all."
Sarkovics also questioned the reliability of statements made by his client's accusers.
Heinzman was convicted of nine felonies: two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor; five counts of child molestation; one count of corrupt business influence; one count of sexual performance in the presence of a minor. He also was found guilty of eight counts of official misconduct, all misdemeanors.
Source: WRTV 6 Indianapolis