This is why I lose patience with the social workers and the whole supervised visitation/child protection industry. It's all bullsh**.
You know, I could play major league baseball too. I could stand out in the outfield during all those games. Just don't count on me to catch the fly ball when it comes my way.
Same with these people. The proof of your competence is that you are paying attention and react accordingly when the proverbial ball is flying your way. This freaking idiotic caseworker was "reaching for the phone" when the father "allegedly" started choking his daughter, the one he is accused of molesting before. The daughter also said that he sexually abused her. But the caseworker missed the whole thing.
Once again, we have a daddy, in this case RAFAEL LEAO, that's been utterly coddled by the authorities at every step of the way. I suspect that he formerly had sole custody, since there is ZERO mention of a mother in this story. And I can't believe we're using "bipolar disorder" as an excuse for attempted murder, assault, or sexual abuse. More crap.
It is utterly disgusting that this poor child has had to be exposed to all this trauma, just so this molester daddy could have his "father's rights." And what happened to this child's mother???
INVISIBLE MOTHER ALERT
Posted on Monday, 03.05.12
Girl said dad choked her during supervised visit
By Carol Marbin Miller The Miami Herald
During a visit supervised by a social worker, a Miami-Dade man was accused of choking his 4-year-old daughter. He already had lost custody of the girl amid molestation allegations.
A social worker for a North Miami-Dade foster-care group was overseeing a visit between a 4-year-old girl and her father, who had been stripped of custody following molestation allegations, when she heard a startling cry: “He’s choking me!”
The incident, which occurred on Feb. 15, was the second time 30-year-old Rafael Leao had been alleged to have touched his daughter in an “inappropriate” way, according to testimony.Still, a Miami judge ordered that Leao be granted more visits — though under “therapeutic” conditions — when foster care administrators did not object.
The Department of Children & Families’ regional administrator, Esther Jacobo, said the agency has asked Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia to reconsider her decision to allow continued visits. Sampedro-Iglesia will hold a hearing on that request Tuesday.
In meantime, Jacobo said, Leao has had no contact with his daughter since the Feb. 15 incident.
Citing judicial ethics, Sampedro-Iglesia declined to discuss the case with a reporter. However, a spokeswoman for the judicial circuit, Eunice Sigler, said therapeutic visits are overseen by professionals with at least a master’s degree, who have authority to intervene when parents mistreat their children. Witnesses at supervised visits do not have that power.
Leao’s daughter was removed from his custody following serious sexual abuse allegations. But child welfare administrators, and the judge, allowed him to visit with the girl under the supervision of a caseworker from the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, or CFCE, while Leao completed a series of tasks designed to improve his parenting skills, such as counseling, medication management and parenting classes.
At a hearing before Sampedro-Iglesia on Feb. 16, a DCF attorney, Barbara Galvez, said the agency’s abuse hotline received a report the day before that Leao had choked and touched his daughter in an improper manner at the CFCE office building during a visit. Galvez said the agency also is concerned that he has stopped taking his psychiatric medications, even though the judge had ordered that he comply with the directions of his psychiatrist and other mental health workers.
At the hearing, CFCE case manager Kenya Tookes testified that she was overseeing the visitation at her office cubicle when she reached over to answer a phone. “I reached over for my phone when [the girl] began to say ‘My father is choking me!’” Tookes testified.
“The child was rubbing her neck, and it was red,” Tookes added.
And there were others in the room: A colleague of Tookes’ testified by telephone that she also heard the little girl scream. “I heard the child screaming ‘He’s choking me,’” said the colleague, Norma Babani “I looked right away, and at that point he grabbed her from the seat and was kind of hugging her and giving her kisses.”
“When I saw the child, her neck was red,” she added.
After police were called, the little girl said that her father also had touched her in the area of her genitals, over her pants.
“I don’t understand how you could be supervising the visit, and you didn’t see the incident happen,” Sampedro-Iglesia said to Tookes.
“I really don’t know that the incident really happened,” the caseworker replied, who said she did not witness the alleged choking.
Under cross examination by Leao’s attorney, Kassandra Murphy, Babani, the colleague who testified by phone, acknowledged she did not witness Leao choking the girl. Murphy suggested it would be unfair to strip Leao of contact with his daughter when there was no proof he mistreated her.
“I think the red marks are undisputed,” Sampedro-Iglesia replied.
But Tookes then presented an alternate explanation: The youngster, she said, “has eczema, and tends to scratch and gets very red.”
Under questioning by the judge, Tookes acknowledged the father had behaved improperly during a previous supervised visitation in December. During the visit, “the father sat in a chair with his legs open, and I observed the child put her hands in her pants,” Tookes said.
Tookes has since been fired from CFCE, Jacobo said.
DCF administrators had other concerns, as well. Under questioning, Leao acknowledged he is being treated for bipolar disorder, but insisted he no longer needs to take medication for the ailment. “I don’t take psychiatric medication,” Leao said. “I’m no longer taking bipolar medication. There’s no need for that.”
When asked if it was his doctor’s decision to discontinue the mental health drugs, Leao replied: “The idea was mine.”
The case, which will be back before the judge again Tuesday, raises troubling questions in the wake of a similar dispute that ended tragically last month.
On Feb. 9, William DeJesus savagely stabbed his entire family and fatally shot a Canadian part-time resident, a year after DCF administrators reunited him with his two small sons. The agency had verified allegations that DeJesus and his wife had repeatedly molested the two boys, and that DeJesus had been violent toward his wife for years. One of the reports stated that DeJesus had grabbed both his sons’ crotches during a supervised visit. Though both a therapist and a court-appointed guardian observed the visit, their concerns were deemed unfounded.
Nine-year-old Jeshiah DeJesus perished in the attack; his 7-year-old brother was hospitalized with a knife blade impaled in his head before surgeons could remove it, and the boy is recovering in foster care. DeJesus’ wife, Deanna Beauchamp, was charged late last week with aggravated manslaughter and child neglect in connection with the blood bath.
DeJesus stabbed himself to death after the attack.