The state Office of Child and Family Services has criticized the Washington County Department of Social Services for not adequately investigating allegations that Gary Carpenter III was neglected and abused before he was killed by his mother’s boyfriend.
The 19-page report shows eight reports of suspected child abuse made to the state hotline and referred to the Washington County Department of Social Services before the boy was killed.
The Office of Child and Family Services has concluded two of eight child abuse reports and a followup request for investigation by a Family Court judge were not properly investigated. It directed that the county Department of Social Services “must develop a protocol to make sure each SCR (Statewide Central Register, aka child abuse hotline) report is adequately and completed (sic) investigated in accordance with the regulations.”
A call to the Washington County Department of Social Services was referred to Commissioner Tammy DeLorme, who an office staff member said was not available Friday.
County Attorney Roger Wickes said he had reviewed the report, and knew the Department of Social Services was working to address the concerns raised by the state agency. He said he could not specify what the department was doing in response and referred further comment to DeLorme.
“They have reviewed it and they are taking the action that they were required to do,” Wickes said.
The report does not make any mention of a hotline call that a Glens Falls woman testified she made two weeks before Carpenter was fatally injured by his mother’s boyfriend, Brandon Warrington.
It does, though, show that both Carpenter’s mother, Jennie Mattison, and his father, Gary Carpenter II, and other relatives were repeatedly accused of abuse and neglect between October 2009 and October 2012. The family lived in Hudson Falls and Granville for most of the boy’s life.
Most of the reports focused on allegations that the boy was being neglected and lived in unclean homes, but there were allegations of sexual abuse against three family acquaintances or relatives, that the child was under the influence of drugs at age 3 and had “rotten teeth” for which dental care was not sought.
The report shows the following:
* Oct. 13, 2009 -- A hotline report is made, accusing the mother of not providing adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Carpenter was reportedly not being bathed or fed properly and had a rectal injury that was not treated. Washington County Department of Social Services investigated, found no injuries and ordered the home cleaned. The home was found to have improved during a followup visit two months later.
* July 9, 2010 -- A hotline call was received, alleging that Carpenter III was being sexually abused by a family acquaintance. It was investigated by Washington County DSS and Granville Police and determined to be “unfounded” because the person accused of the abuse hadn’t had contact with the child for more than two years.
* July 12, 2010 -- A hotline report was received, alleging the child had breathed in secondhand marijuana smoke and become intoxicated by it while at his father’s home. A drug screening was negative. After the father denied the allegations, he was ordered to have only supervised visitation.
* Jan. 9, 2011 -- A hotline report was received, alleging the mother and other maternal relatives had been providing inadequate food, clothing and shelter to Carpenter III. The home was visited and found to be “cluttered” and to lack potable water, and Washington County DSS closed the matter after determining no services were necessary.
* Aug. 21, 2011 -- A report was made to the hotline, alleging inadequate food, clothing, medical care and guardianship against the mother and maternal relatives. The caller said Carpenter was “filthy” and had “rotten teeth” in need of care that he was not getting. DSS visited, got the family on Medicaid for dental care and closed the case.
* June 1, 2012 -- A hotline report accused the father of not getting dental care for the boy’s teeth. Efforts to get dental care had stalled when the family repeatedly missed dentist appointments and a new dentist had to be found. Washington County DSS met with the family, visited the home and closed the case without action.
* Aug. 31, 2012 -- A hotline report was received, accusing Warrington of sexually abusing Carpenter III. Warrington was accused by a family member who told police the boy had accused him of sexual abuse. Warrington denied the allegations but would not take a lie detector test, and insufficient evidence was found for a criminal prosecution after Carpenter III also accused a second person. The family agreed not to leave Warrington alone with the boy. The family was homeless at the time, and Washington County DSS opened the case for “preventive services” on Sept. 27.
* Oct. 30, 2012 -- Washington County DSS referred a hotline complaint that a maternal relative had sexually abused the child to Warren County DSS because Mattison, Warrington and Carpenter III had moved to Glens Falls. Warren County DSS met with Carpenter at school on Nov. 8, found no sign of injuries and a “safety assessment” was completed. The complaint remained under investigation at the time of the boy’s death Nov. 16.
A final hotline report was made on Nov. 15, 2012, when Carpenter III was hospitalized with severe head injuries inflicted by Warrington. He died less than 24 hours later.
Warrington was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter earlier this month and is awaiting sentencing.
There were no indications that Carpenter was ever removed from the custody of his mother.
The Office of Child and Family Services found that Washington County DSS’s investigations of the Oct. 13, 2009 and June 1, 2012 hotline complaints and of a Dec. 16, 2009 court-ordered complaint were inadequate because insufficient followup interviews and visits with the family were done.
The circumstances of a hotline call that Glens Falls resident Erin Monroe testified she made on Nov. 1, reporting suspected physical abuse of the boy by Warrington, remained unclear.
OCFS has said that if a call with allegations like Monroe’s was made, it would have been investigated, but the agency has not formally commented on whether the call was received because of confidentiality rules.
Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan has asked OCFS to investigate the hotline calls, and OCFS spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said they were investigated but the state agency “found no evidence to substantiate her (Hogan’s) claims of recurring failures by the SCR to accept reports.”
Hogan said she has heard from numerous callers who claim their abuse calls were not accepted by hotline operators.
Givner said OCFS is “continuing to work with Washington County on a corrective action plan which will address child protective investigative practices and requirements.”