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Federal Title IV-E funds foster care on an unlimited basis without providing for services that would prevent the child's removal from the home.

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Too Many Foxes in Huron County

The probe of Sheriff's Detective Matt Spencer by the Huron County Sheriff's Department reminds us of the probe of the Gravelle family by the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation should have been called in to investigate the crimes committed by Huron County Children's Services and the Huron County Sheriff's Department instead of asking a State department to investigate a local HHS department.

Perhaps, then, the following facts would have been made known:

  1. Jo Johnson, social worker for CPS, made up the false allegations of abuse that reportedly were given by an insurance agent and she gave measurements of the dog cage instead of the beds in order to obtain a search warrant;
  2. On the witness stand, the insurance agent angrily denied the information in the search warrant stating that he had never reported child abuse, the information was fictitious, he never signed a complaint, and he never saw any abuse in that home. The complaint was filled out by Jo Johnson to imply that he had filed the complaint;
  3. Detective Randy Sommers relied on Ms. Johnson's statements without doing his own investigation as required by law. He later stated in his deposition that if he had done his own investigation, he would not have removed the children from the home and;
  4. Sommers also stated that after the search of the house, he realized that the measurement of the beds was incorrect so he went to his boss, Sheriff Richard Sutherland, and asked if he should correct the false information, but was told to "leave it alone and let the media run it like it is."

Detective Spencer was fired from the sheriff's department for presenting false and/or inaccurate information. Why has nothing happened to Jo Johnson, Detective Sommers or Sheriff Sutherland?

Public prosecutors and judges have an ethical duty to seek justice in a proceeding and not to taint the jury pool by making statements about a case to the media. Why did it take 5 months to "build a case" before charging the Gravelles criminally on the same day as the permanent custody hearing? Sounds like more foxes guarding the hen house.

Mr. & Mrs. Carl Gibson
Clarksfield, OH

Posted August 29, 2006