A new lawsuit claims that two Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators showed “inhumane indifference” to the safety of murdered Crystal Lake boy AJ Freund.
According to the lawsuit, Carlos Acosta, a child protection specialist for DCFS, and his supervisor Andrew R. Polovin operated a sham investigation into previous allegations that AJ was abused.
The suit says that police officers, medical personnel and neighbors made many calls to DCFS’ Child Abuse Hotline, describing the boy’s physical injuries.
In a December 2018 call to DCFS by Crystal Lake Police, it was reported that AJ and his family were living in squalid conditions and mentioned a massive bruise on the boy’s thigh that his mother said was caused by a dog. The police officer didn’t believe the mother’s story and he took the boy to the hospital to get evaluated. AJ allegedly told the doctor conflicting reports about how he got the bruise occurred. At one point AJ said that his mother hit him with a belt, and at another point, he said the dog caused the bruise. AJ was sent back home after telling the doctor what happened.
The lawsuit alleges Polovin “ignored the patent deficiencies and obvious prevarications that littered the investigators’ reports.”
“Emboldened by defendant Polovin’s conscious indifference to AJ’s safety, AJ’s parents increased the intensity and frequency of their beatings and torture, relishing in their barbarism to the point of producing a video of their handiwork timestamped March 4, 2019, and ultimately, leading to AJ’s murder on April 15, 2019,” the suit says.
AJ’s parents, Andrew Freund, 60, and JoAnn Cunningham, 36, both have first-degree murder and other charges against them that are the result of the boy’s death.
Authorities claim that AJ was beaten to death in his home and then buried in a shallow grave.
The lawsuit alleges that the DCFS workers ignored credible reports of abuse instead of taking the appropriate steps to protect the boy against this deadly treatment.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for AJ’s estate.