NEWHALL (CBSLA.com) — The grandparents of an 8-year-old boy allegedly tortured and beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend have filed a legal claim against multiple agencies and employees they say failed to protect their grandson from abuse.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Gabriel Fernandez was tortured by his mother’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Isauro Aguirre, and suffered a broken skull and ribs. Cigarette burns and bruises were found on the boy’s body, along with abrasions on his ankles and pellets from a BB gun lodged in his lungs and groin. He died on May 24.
Pearl Fernandez’s parents, Robert and Sandra, filed an 18-page complaint Tuesday against multiple county agencies, including the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as the Palmdale Unified School District, individual social workers and a welfare fraud investigator who is named in the complaint.
Attorney John Noland, who is representing Robert and Sandra Fernandez, said Gabriel’s grandparents informed the investigator of abuse at the hand of Pearl Fernandez.
The complaint alleges a “breach of mandatory duties” on the part of DCFS and the fraud investigator, who was a mandated reporter with a moral obligation to report the suspected abuse after he was called to the home to investigate.
Instead, the complaint alleges, the investigator called Pearl Fernandez the next day and asked her out on a date.
“He was more concerned or interested in the mother than the welfare of Gabriel,” said Noland.
“We’d like to think that if he had made a report that might have changed the outcome,” said Noland. “However lots of people made reports after that, and none of those reports were apparently acted on.”
The civil complaint also names governmental, social worker, punitive, school district and law enforcement agencies as defendants, alleging they failed to properly investigate and protect the minor after receiving 64 reports of abuse before his death.
In June, DCFS released a 121-page file of prior referrals and autopsy reports that revealed a broad pattern of abuse.
Four DCFS employees are currently facing termination proceedings for their role in the handling of Gabriel’s case.