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Anderson social worker accused of lying about cases: What has happened to these kids?

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Written by
Deborah Yetter | The Courier-Journal

A former Anderson County state social worker who is charged with falsifying investigations of suspected child abuse and neglect — including some cases involving sexual abuse of young children — lied about her work and closed the cases as unfounded over a period of four years, according to new details filed in court.

In at least two cases, complaints were made about her handling of such cases — once in 2006 by a co-worker and another in a 2008 case by police involved in the investigation.

And in one case, the former worker, Margaret “Gerry” Murphy, admitted her actions “bothered” her because she believed an 11-year-old girl had been sexually abused, although Murphy had closed the case as unfounded, the court records show.

Yet it appears Murphy’s employer, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, took no action, and last year Murphy, 60, resigned. Herpersonnel records, obtained by The Courier-Journal, reflect no allegations of misconduct or disciplinary action over allegations raised in the criminal charges.

Murphy, who was indicted Aug. 2 by an Anderson County grand jury on nine felony counts of tampering with public records, has pleaded not guilty. Murphy, who now lives in Florida, and her attorney have declined to comment on the case.

The cabinet had no comment Wednesday, said spokewoman Gwenda Bond.

The case is being handled by the office of Attorney General Jack Conway, who said in August he became aware of the alleged wrongdoing after a citizen complained to him about how Murphy had handled a case involving her family.

“As we began to review Murphy’s cases, we believe she falsified information in multiple cases that were assigned by the cabinet to investigate,” Conway said.

Additional details of the allegations are contained in a bill of particulars Conway’s office filed Wednesday in Anderson Circuit Court.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said he didn’t know details of the investigation but said the allegations make him wonder about the impact on the children and families.

“What has happened to these kids?” he asked.

He said the case also raises questions about whether the cabinet received the information and, if so, whether officials acted appropriately. But he said it’s difficult to know because of the cabinet’s strict policy of confidentiality.

“I think that secrecy hurts their credibility rather than helps it,” he said.

The court records detail allegations in nine cases Murphy handled between 2006 and 2010.

Five involved cases of alleged sexual abuse of young children. In one case involving alleged sexual abuse of an infant, Murphy lied about evidence in the case and fabricated a statement from a state trooper over the initial allegation in 2007 of abuse of an infant by the mother’s boyfriend, according to the records.

Murphy closed that case as unfounded.

In 2010, the case was reopened with new allegations of abuse of the same child by the mother’s boyfriend. A state police officer reported that he believed Murphy’s actions in the first investigation allowed the abuse to continue, the court records said. The records said police and another agency complained about Murphy’s actions.

In 2006 a co-worker complained about Murphy’s handling of a case alleging neglect of children being unsupervised, the records said. Murphy admitted she falsely documented she had interviewed the parents, the records said.

In 2009, Murphy falsely reported that she had investigated allegations of two foster children being sexually abused by other children in the home and closed the case as unfounded, the records said.

And in another case in 2007, Murphy falsely reported she had investigated and found unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a 7-year-old child by a babysitter’s husband, the records said.

In that case, according to the records, she falsely claimed she and Lawrenceburg police had interviewed the alleged perpetrator, who passed a polygraph test.

 

 

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Written by dawneworswick

October 20, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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