Inspector general seeks to block prosecutors from obtaining investigative report into DCFS handling of A.J. Freund case

  • Carlos Acosta

    Carlos Acosta

  • Andrew Polovin

    Andrew Polovin

 
 
Updated 12/18/2020 7:18 PM

As prosecutors seek to obtain a report that probed the actions of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees in charge of 5-year-old AJ Freund's case, the agency that wrote the report is taking steps to derail their efforts.

The McHenry County state's attorney's office is seeking the report, generated as part of an investigation by the department's office of inspector general that looked into AJ's former DCFS caseworker Carlos Acosta, 54, of Woodstock and Acosta's supervisor, Andrew Polovin, 48, of Island Lake.

 

On Thursday, Michelle Camp, an attorney for the DCFS office of inspector general, told McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt her office would file a motion based on the Garrity Law in response to the state's subpoena filed in November.

The Garrity Law protects public employees from being compelled to incriminate themselves during investigatory interviews conducted by their employers. This is a protection that stems from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The comments from Camp, who is an assistant attorney general for the Illinois attorney general's office, came during a hearing in Acosta's case Thursday. Polovin's case was continued to a new date Tuesday.

Both Polovin and Acosta, who also is a McHenry County Board member, were involved in an investigation regarding a large bruise on AJ's hip about four months before the boy died at the hands of his parents.

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At the conclusion of the inspector general's investigation, both were fired from their jobs and, in a rare turn, charged criminally in AJ's death. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The state's subpoena, which should have been complied with in court by Thursday, states that prosecutors are seeking "any and all records, reports or documents pertaining to a DCFS investigation ... including all recorded interviews written statements and all notes related to this report/investigation."

Prosecutors also are seeking a copy of a federal consent decree that details rules DCFS employees must follow.

Camp must file her motion by Jan. 7, and the state is to file its response by Jan. 21. Oral arguments are scheduled for Jan. 29.

Both of AJ's parents, 37-year-old JoAnn D. Cunningham and 61-year-old Andrew Freund Sr., pleaded guilty to charges tied to their son's death.

Cunningham was sentenced in July to 35 years in prison for first-degree murder in connection with the boy's death. Freund accepted a plea deal in September and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated battery of a child, involuntary manslaughter and concealment of a homicidal death.

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