IADC Board Member Deborah Cole, President of DGCole Law, recently obtained a defense verdict in an expungement case. The defendant, a child care worker and a career entrant in the area of pediatric social work, was accused of sexually molesting a child when, as a juvenile, defendant babysat for a family of three children. The incident(s) allegedly occurred four to six years prior to the child’s “outcry” when the alleged victim was between the ages of three and five and the defendant was between the ages of twelve and fifteen.
Upon receipt of a Hotline call from a Mandated Reporter, the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (“DCFS”) opened an investigation. No criminal charges were brought against the defendant by local law enforcement following the police investigation. DCFS proceeded with its investigation and made an “indicated” finding of sexual molestation against defendant. Defendant’s name was placed on the State Central Register as a person “indicated” for sexual molestation of a minor. Employers are required to check the State Central Register prior to employment of any individual who may work or interact with children.
Defendant appealed the “indicated” finding and, after one year of motions and hearings on evidentiary matters, Deborah Cole proceeded to trial before an Administrative Law Judge to demonstrate that the DCFS acted inappropriately in making an indicating finding against the defendant.
Following a four-day trial, the ALJ determined that the defense provided by Attorney Cole carried the day and that the “indicated” finding of sexual molestation was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Additionally, the ALJ made specific findings of fact and conclusions of law proffered by Deborah Cole which were adopted by the Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. The defendant’s appeal of the indicated finding requesting expungement of the record of the allegation of sexual molestation against defendant was granted.