The High Profile Case Of Four Social Workers Involved In The Death Of Gabriel Fernandez Has Been Dismissed
When he was born, Gabriel Fernandez didn’t realize his story would break hearts around the globe. The eight-year-old boy was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend in spring 2013 after they suspected he was gay. A documentary about his young life, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, premiered on Netflix and reached a wide audience who come to love Gabriel and be angry at everyone directly or indirectly involved in his murder after we learned how many warning signs were blatantly obvious. Four people who chose to ignore the red flags in the Fernandez home were social workers, Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement, and their supervisors, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt. The four were each charged with one felony count of child abuse and falsifying public records relating to the Gabriel’s death. While Gabriel’s mother and her boyfriend were sentenced to life in prison and the death penalty, respectively, we finally have an answer for the other foursome involved.
According to LA Times, a Los Angeles Judge dismissed the charges against the four social workers. A representative for Southern California Public Service Workers released a statement claiming Gabriel’s death is an unspeakable tragedy that has exposed problems within the child welfare system and will lead to better training, reform, and mentoring so social workers will have a lighter workload in order to keep their focus on child safety rather than giving approvals to have less on their plate. The four may be able to sleep easy tonight, but the Netflix documentary dives deep into their missteps to the point of public execution.
In a twisted way of art imitates life, Fernandez’s tragic tale is seemingly the “ripped from the headlines” story line that was the basis of a season seventeen episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Institutional Fail. In that particular episode, Whoopi Goldberg portrayed a social worker who files false child welfare reports and is subsequently imprisoned after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter after one of the children under her absent-minded care dies. Fernandez’s social workers may have gotten their get out of a jail free card, but fingers are crossed their actions will lead to more overwhelmed workers and cases getting the help and attention required to prevent any further death.
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.
Source: LA Times