Monday, November 7, 2016

Child abuse investigator charged with falsifying information in 43 cases

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 2:13 PM

A former civilian investigator with the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police has been charged with tampering with a public record, a spokesman for the state police said in a statement. The crime is a Class D felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit dated Oct. 21, CACD investigator Whitney Adams "fabricated ... reports and made entries in CACD referral cases that never occurred" in "approximately 43 separate cases throughout Benton and Washington counties." Adams surrendered herself on Oct. 27; she will appear in circuit court in Benton County on Dec. 5.

The affidavit of probable cause, which details three of those cases, leaves much unexplained and provides little hint of a motive as to Adams' alleged misconduct.

The Crimes Against Children Division runs Arkansas's child maltreatment hotline and also investigates the most severe cases of alleged maltreatment. These "Priority I" cases include instances of sexual abuse or severe physical abuse. "Priority II" cases, which include less severe offenses such as inadequate supervision or educational neglect, are typically assigned to the Division of Children and Family Services (the arm of DHS responsible for child welfare more generally). When the hotline receives a credible call alleging maltreatment, the case is classified as either Priority I or II and routed to the appropriate investigative authority. As a CACD investigator, Adams would have been responsible for looking into Priority I offenses.  Strict timelines govern these investigations: Upon receiving an allegation of severe maltreatment, CACD is required to initiate its investigation within 24 hours of the report being made.

ASP spokesman Bill Sadler said Adams worked for CACD from Sept. 2014 to January of this year.

"On January 11, 2016 an Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children area supervisor conducting a random audit questioned the integrity of investigative reports prepared by Adams. On January 13, 2016 Adams was questioned by the commander of the Crimes Against Children Division and the department’s Office of Professional Standards. At that time Adams was placed on administrative leave. The following day, January 14, 2016, Adams submitted her letter of resignation," Sadler said in a statement.

When Adams resigned, the agency "began a comprehensive review of the 149 cases that had been assigned to Adams. During the course of the review, investigators took necessary precautions to confirm the safety of the children who had been the subjects of the investigation assigned to Adams."

Here are the three cases described by the affidavit:
*On, or about June 21, 2015, ASP CACD Investigator Whitney Adams was assigned referral number 1748510. This CACD case involved a young child being burned on a stove in the child's residence. According to Adams, she and Benton County Sheriff's Department Detective, Tim Srader, made contact with the young victim's father R.H. According to the interview conducted by Adams, R.H. was upset because earlier he had turned the kitchen stove on to cook bacon. After a short time, R.H. went back into the kitchen and turned on an electric skillet, and thought he had turned the stove burner off. The young victim child walked into the kitchen and wanted to help stir food that was cooking in the skillet, and R.H. picked up the small child, and placed the small child on the top of the stove which he's done in the past, and the child was burned on the lees by the stove burner which was still on. According to Adams report, R.H. took the screaming child to the nearest hospital for treatment. The police report shows only telephone contact with R.H. (alleged offender) by BCSO Detective Srader. During a follow-up interview conducted with R.H. by Tammy Dulaney, CACD, R.H. advised that he recalls talking to an officer on the phone in reference to the incident, but that nobody came to his residence the night of the incident. Adams originally documented that she had a "face to face" interview with R.H. When interviewed by S/A Pritchard, Adams advised that she never did a "face to face" interview with R.H. as stated in the original report.

*On, or about October 9, 2015, ASP CACD Investigator Whitney Adams was assigned referral number 1764844. This CACD case involved a 5 y/0 male victim who was sexually assaulted when he was 3 y/o. The male alleged victim (AV) reported to his mother, MS. that the suspect "touched my weiner behind the bushes." M.S. advised that "weiner" is what her son called his private parts. Z.H. was the suspect, and is the husband of a lady that owned a daycare center that the 5 y/0 male victim attended for approximately six months. Whitney Adams reported in the Children’s Reporting and Information System (CHRIS) that she met M.S., biological father of the 5 y/0 victim at their residence, and conducted an interview. However, Whitney Adams, and Detective Blount, Cave Springs Police Department, spoke to PRFC/Mom, M.S. at the Children's Advocacy Center in Benton County on October 12, 2015. ["PFRC" means "person responsible for the child.] On January 13, 2016 M.S. stated that her husband was not interviewed, and no one came to their house. Adams originally documented that all interviews were conducted by the Rogers Police Department. CACD determined that only the victim was interviewed by the Rogers Police Department. During her suspect interview with ASP, Adams;' response was that she did not do any interviews with any of the witnesses, suspects, or the victim and that she (Adams) did not do a "face to face" interview.

*On, or about November 3, 2014, ASP CACD Investigator Whitney Adams was assigned referral number 1715216. This CACD case involved a 16 y/o female who resided with her 38 y/o biological mother, A.E., and the alleged offender stepdad E.E., and 3 y/o unknown sibling. It was reported that the 16 y/o female victim advised her stepdad choked her around the neck and held her down against her will. 16 y/o female victim also advised that she couldn’t breathe. This incident occurred on October 31, 2014. It appears that Rogers Police Department Officer Kissinger responded to the residence and took the initial report, and interviewed the 16 y/o female victim inside the residence. The 16 y/o female victim recanted her story of being choked by her step dad, and stated she was only angry because she didn’t feel as though she receives any moral support. Officer Kissinger relayed this information to Whitney Adams by phone call. Documentation by Whitney Adams in the “CHRIS” system shows all interviews were conducted by an officer with the Rogers Police Department. The Rogers Police Department report indicates only the 16 y/o victim was interviewed by the Rogers Police Department. This was considered false documentation. There is nothing in the RPD report to show that law enforcement interviewed siblings, PRFC, or alleged offender. During her interview with ASP Investigators Adams’ response was that she did not do any of the interviews with any witnesses, victim, or suspect in this case. She did not conduct face to face interviews.

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