Legislators Despair: 432 Florida Children Died from Abuse, Neglect in 2012

By: Margie Menzel News Service of Florida | Posted: February 12, 2014 3:55 AM
Child abuse

Both chambers of the Legislature took up child-welfare reform Tuesday, hearing from a wide range of experts with research about staff turnover and caseloads.

But one number stood out: 432, the number of Florida children who died of abuse and neglect in 2012, according to Pam Graham, a social work professor at Florida State University.

Graham, who spoke to the House Healthy Families Subcommittee, served on the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee. Of the 432 children who died in 2012, she said, 40 percent were already involved with the Department of Children and Families.

"It pains me that if the right people had been helping those families, a lot of the deaths could have been prevented," Graham said.

The number of child deaths usually mentioned in legislative committees is 40, the number that the Casey Family Programs, a policy group, reviewed after a series of child deaths last year.

And that's how many it took to prompt legislative leaders to vow to overhaul the child-welfare system.

"The public is crying out to us to have revolutionary reform," said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee. "We don't want to keep reading about children's deaths. … However, we're going to do it in a pragmatic way, step by step."

Sobel's panel and the House Healthy Families Subcommittee examined such steps as requiring all new child-protective investigators to have social-work degrees and helping the current investigators get such degrees.

Not everyone who spoke to the lawmakers agreed on how to fix the workplace culture at DCF, but virtually all said it had to be done.

"The thing that we keep coming back to is a lack of fraternity," Mike Watkins, chief executive officer of Big Bend Community Based Care, told the Senate panel.

To the House panel, Mary Alice Nye, of the Legislature's Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability, said child-protective investigators report feeling pressured to close cases within a 30-day window and to get all of their work done without filing for overtime pay.

The investigators "felt that they were less and less able to use their knowledge and expertise in decision-making," Nye said.

They also reported spending 50 percent to 80 percent of their time on administrative tasks and expressed concern about going into homes where there had been violence, difficulty in getting law enforcement officers to meet them there and using their own cars for work, which could identify them in small communities.

"They generally indicated they felt support from their immediate (supervisor) but not from DCF or the lead (community-based care) agencies," Nye said.

DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said a program to pair child-protective investigators was being piloted in cases where a child is 3 years old or younger, has a prior DCF history and other family risk factors such as domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse.

Jacobo said the pilot has been so successful that it will go statewide. Gov. Rick Scott has recommended hiring 400 additional child-protective investigators, bringing their caseloads down to 10 apiece.

Sobel said it's important for state agencies to be more consistent.

"Stop the turnover and create a workforce that likes where they're working and enjoys what they do and accomplishes a lot," she said. "For the sake of the kids, we have to do this."

According to OPPAGA, the turnover for child-protective investigators in Florida is 20 percent. For the case managers who provide services at the local level, it's 30 percent.

Comments (5)

11:31AM FEB 16TH 2014
Third world banana republic,,,run by GOP scum
Really ???
9:46AM FEB 13TH 2014
So what is the Lake County perverted sheriff really trying to prove with this so called sex sting? He is trying to prove he is not a pervert?

Well he will have to go to a lot more trouble than this. All anyone has to do is ask anyone with brains around Lake County including a few disgruntled employee's who are sick and tired of this mess and ready to tell the truth about it all.

One of Gary Borders most infamous Lake Jail inmate sex victims is in the Marion County, Fl jail right now. Everyone knows his name! Go ask him he told his neighbors and everyone else who would listen what Borders done to him in his jail office. Corrections Officers including the top boss told the FBI what they saw then jail major Borders doing to this victim. So what's the problem here? Why isn't Lake Sheriff Gary Borders in the federal pen long ago???

Lake County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday - 23 men arrested on child-sex or prostitution charges during a seven-day sex sting dubbed "Be Mine" to mark Valentine's Day. Lake detectives say the suspects brought jewelry, chocolate candy bars, a bottle of flavored vodka and marijuana hoping to meet children as young as 13 for sex. Sheriff Gary Borders said the operation was the third such effort by his cybercrimes unit which has netted more than 100 arrests in recent years. The men came from all walks of life, Borders said.(This is probably the only time he has ever told the truth! One is the Sheriff of Lake County!)
One suspect was already a registered sex offender.
"They never learn. As long as they're out there," he said. "We'll continue to work these operations and put them in jail."
9:09AM FEB 13TH 2014
In 2005-06 Douglas Myers and Lake Sheriff Gary Borders were close friends both attending the Bay Street Baptist Church in Eustis, Fl. Even at that time Douglas Myers was wanted on charges of sex abuse of young boys by the Calvert County Maryland Sheriff's Office. The victim from Bay Street Baptist reported the crimes committed against him by pastor Myers and Sheriff Borders and friends cut the Florida DOC punishment as much as possible. Myers is now serving the real time he deserves in Maryland prison. Look up his Fl DOC records and see the smiling smirking child molester who like his friend and counterpart is proud of the abuse he has brought to young boys! The Florida Baptist Convention plans to appeal a jury’s decision to award $12.5 million in damages in a lawsuit claiming Baptist officials didn’t check far enough into the background of a church planter convicted in 2007 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.

A Lake County, Fla., jury agreed unanimously Jan. 18 to grant what is described as one of the largest monetary awards in Florida to a 21-year-old man who was victimized as a child by Douglas Myers, a convicted serial child molester, currently in prison in Maryland after serving a seven-year prison term in Florida.

The judgment, reported by the Orlando Sentinel, followed a six-day trial over the matter of damages. Another jury in May 2012 found the Florida Baptist Convention liable for running criminal, credit and background checks but neglecting to check references before helping Myers plant two now-defunct churches with training, financial aid and what the lawsuit termed implied endorsement by reporting news of his endeavor in the Baptist state newspaper.

Just one more pervert attracted to Lake County by the culture of corruption that thrives here. Protected by his fellow perverts. The Florida Baptist should have to pay every dime of this judgment!
The Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
2:07PM FEB 12TH 2014
Everytime a high profile child death comes up they pass another law!
We have:


On October 1, 2012 the Florida legislature enacted yet another law in response to the Jerry Sandusky crisis [You know the one where everybody at Penn State knew what Sandusky was doing to those boys – but turned their heads and denied it for twenty years!] went in to effect.
It is now against the law in Florida for anyone who suspects child abuse to fail to report it!

But, even though it might be against the law for those who are supposed to enforce the law to continue to turn their heads and refuse to prosecute sexual crimes committed against our children. They continue to this day to do so without concern for their actions.
Everyone has heard of Lake County Sheriff’s Gary Borders Green Isle Boys Ranch – the scene of untold number of rapes reported to his Sheriff’s Office and then covered up by Sheriff Borders sexual cover up teams. Headed by Det. Marcie Poitevent. Well they caught so much heat in 2010 they closed the ranch and three months after the last known five rapes was reported to Sheriff Borders Office he and his detective Poitevent and the 5th circuit state attorney along with other in the judicial system faked up an arrest, prosecution and community control of the rapist – just to make it all go away!

Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders and his 5th judicial circuit friends continue to cover up child sex abuse cases for friends!
One male victim was age 13 and his half-sister 8 yrs old both had been sexually abused by a step-brother age 17 over a long period of time. The parents had known about this for a long time and covered it up – they told the boys they were homo and its normal for them!

Over the summer of 2012 the male victim told his real father about the sex abuse occurring in the home of his mother and current spouse. The father reported it to the Lake Sheriff’s Office who assigned the case to Det Marcie Poitevent who set up phone tap of 17 yr old in which he confessed to sexually abusing his younger siblings over the years.
Still Poitevent done nothing with the case even though she got the confession from the 17 yr old rape suspect. Since no action was taken the victim’s father went to see Sheriff Borders and Chief Deputy Grinnell on Thursday 11/8/2012. The results was the Sheriff ordered his detectives to turn the case over to the State Attorney. Where nothing was ever done!
Other child sex abuse cases that have evaporated recently in Lake County:
John Matthew Jones – Sex assault by custodian – victim under twelve – Charges Dropped!
Michael John Morrow – Sex assault victim under twelve - Charges Dropped by judge Don Briggs –
Rapist 28 years old - At the request of DCF parents tried to obtain an injunction for protection for their under 12 year old daughter and it was denied by Judge Heidi Davis – with snide remarks concerning the DCF involvement!

James Beecher Dennissen- Sex Assault victim 12 YOA or older [16]

On Sunday 12/2/2012 Quale Grove neighbors including the father of this convict heard the screams and ongoing fracas of a rape in progress. Some neighbors even ran into a convenience store begging someone to call 911.
Subsequent to that call James Beecher Denissen was arrested for:
Sexual Battery / force /victim / 12 YOA or older
Battery / aggravated / domestic / 65 YOA or older (beating his own father who went to assist rape victim
Battery Police Canine (attacked K-9 dog of responding deputy sheriff)
Resist Officer with violence (attacked responding deputy sheriff)
False Imprisonment
Battery Simple
Violation of Parole
After arrest Lake County Jail records indicate Denissen was incarcerated in the Lake jail from 12/2/2012 @ 14:23 HRS until 2/19/2012 @ 10:57 HRS.
The Florida Department of Corrections website says after his release on 10/14/2012 he re-entered their facilities on 1/23/2013 and was released from there on 2/19/2013.
On that date he apparently posted bond in the total amount of $33,500.

Why did Sheriff Gary Borders block all news releases of this brutal attack? There was a juvenile rape victim here, and Denissen attacked his own father who come to rescue the girl. Denissen also attacked the responding deputy and their canine with violence. Why then did Sheriff Borders have his PIO team John Herrell deny this ever happened and lie to Orlando News outlets seeking information on this brutal crime. And one year later “the system” continues to make a fool out of the victims including a Lake Deputy Sheriff and their canine. On Dec. 5. 2013 Judge William Law “just made it go away.” And placed this “professional probationist” back on probation!
The Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
1:46PM FEB 12TH 2014
Garrett Merting - July 31, 2012 - Lake Deputy Suspended After Arrest for Indecent Exposure

Merting has been suspended after he was arrested for indecent exposure in Maryland, according to the Sheriff's Office. (exposing himself to passerbys of his hotel room)
Deputy Garrett Merting was arrested on the misdemeanor charge during the weekend while on vacation in Baltimore, said Lt. John Herrell, a spokesman for the Lake Sheriff's Office
"He has since been suspended without pay, pending our internal affairs investigation," Herrell said today.

But, Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:00 am – in the Leesburg Commercial paper is a story - Master Deputy Chris Wade, and Deputy Garrett Merting respond to a call about drug activity in Leesburg on Wednesday. A property manager was clearing out an apartment and found spoons with white residue and syringes in a dresser drawer. So, Lake Deputy Garrett Merting is still an employed Lake County deputy Sheriff.

So many other sex crimes that have been blocked, suppressed, charges dropped and or covered up exist the list is far to long to publish in this blog. Other interesting sex offenses within this one Florida County would shock the madam of a house of ill repute!

Posted: 4:44 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
Lake Deputy was under investigation for child porn before suicide

Warwick Dale a Lake deputy killed himself near a community swimming pool in Lake County was at the center of a Homeland Security investigation. Sources said that Warwick Dale was under investigation for child porn when he chose to take his own life. Federal authorities had just searched Dale's home and he was placed on leave shortly before his body was found. The 43-year-old was married to a deputy and worked as a civil process server for the sheriff's office. In his free time, Dale also served as a reserve deputy.

Lake County deputy charged with sexual battery

January 23, 2014LAKE COUNTY --
Lake County deputy sheriff Matthew Donnelly is out of jail after he was arrested Wednesday night for sexual battery. The victim told deputies she and her boyfriend were out celebrating New Year's Eve at an Orlando bar and passed out after drinking too much in the parking lot of a closed business along U.S. 27 in Minneola. The woman said she awoke to Deputy Sheriff Matthew Donnelly standing beside the car. After her boyfriend was secured in Donnelly's patrol car, the victim said Donnelly groped her and made inappropriate comments to her while saying he would not take her boyfriend to jail. She also said Donnelly was adamant she not tell anyone about the encounter and would let her boyfriend go. The victim said Donnelly even called for a female relative to pick up the couple. The relative informed detectives the victim immediately told her about Donnelly's misconduct.

So, what we need to protect our children is one more law; Lets call it the
On Jun 22, 2013 - The body of 8-year-old Cherish Lily Perrywinkle was discovered - Charish Lilly Perriwinkle, 8, was found dead Saturday morning after being abducted by a known child predator – one who should have been locked up long ago and had the keys to his cell thrown away. But, he was protected by the sickeness that permeates the co called law enforcement and the criminal justice system. No wonder they call it “the criminal justice system” the criminals are in charge of it and they make sure to give every possible pervert a pass to freedom.
Let’s pass the “CHARISH PERRIWINKLE LAW” which demands that law enforcement and prosecutors enforce the laws we have on the books and stop protecting themselves and their perverted friends – let’s make it a life felony for any official in authority to refuse to do the job they swore to do when they took their oath of office. And when they are convicted of their crimes they will lose all of their pensions and goodies they have acquired over their years of abusing the very people they are sworn to protect.
And the lawmakers in Tallahassee can start with Lake Sheriff Gary Borders whose evidence of crimes of sex abuse against Lake Jail inmates and covering up the Green Isle rapes by his little friend and groom - are so well documented every person with their head in the daylight has heard or seen the evidence thereof. And just like those people at Penn State did with Jerry Sandusky the people of Lake County, The governor and his corrupt FDLE continue to turn their heads every day.
Those who are truly concerned about the welfare of the children of Florida are wasting their time until they resolve to accept the truth about who is allowing and perpetuating the gross abuse of our children. It is the wolves in sheep’s clothing that walk among us!

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