When my wife and I were watching the morning news program this morning we saw something on the crawl at the bottom of the screen: “2 DCFS Workers Involved in AJ Freund Case Arrested”. If you’re not aware of the backstory, a little boy, AJ Freund, was first reported missing, then found dead. Ultimately, his parents were convicted of killing him. It was pretty big news hereabouts.
Curious, I checked the newspapers and found this story in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle:
A pair of former child welfare employees who had prior contact with slain Crystal Lake boy AJ Freund and his family were arrested Thursday on child endangerment charges.
McHenry County Board member and former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees Carlos Acosta, 54, was arrested and charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one felony count of reckless conduct.
Also arrested was Acosta’s former supervisor, Andrew Polovin, 48, of Island Lake, on the same charges, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
What struck me about this story and all of the coverage of it at the various media outlets was how terribly sloppy and poorly-written all of the coverage was. It was as though it were calculated to be obscure and misleading. Nowhere do they actually say that the individuals were arrested on charges related to the Freund case. Look at that first sentence. It contains two facts:
- Two people were arrested on child endangerment charges.
- They “had prior contact” with AJ Freund and his family.
It leaves it to you to infer that they were arrested for their conduct in the Freund case without actually saying it. They never quote or cite the actual warrants.
That’s either incredibly sloppy or very deceitful reporting.
As to the actual matter, I’m not particularly surprised. Many public employees, like just about everybody these days, try to get paid as much as they can for working as little as possible. It’s a sad commentary but I think it’s true. I don’t believe these people acted maliciously—I think they were just trying to get the case off their workloads as quickly as possible. But a little boy died who might have lived with a little more industriousness and care.