Former CPS Agent Accused of Murdering Foster Child – Trial Begins on Tuesday
Posted: 09 Jan 2010 09:07 PM PST
To let everyone know, this trial is about a dcf worker who was also
double dipping as a foster parent = 2 pay checks for 1 child?
How did that happen? anyone know
The Mansfield woman — and former Department of Children and Families employee — accused of killing a foster child in her care is expected to appear in court Tuesday.
Suzanne Listro, 43 of 260 Stearns Road, was charged with the May 19, 2008, death of 7-month-old Michael Brown Jr.
After months of delay, her jury trial is slated to start at Rockville Superior Court at 10 a.m.
Listro’s Hartford attorney, Hu-bert Santos of Santos & Seeley, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Listro was charged July 16, 2008, with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor. She pleaded not guilty to both charges in a December 2008 court appearance.
Listro had worked with DCF for 12 years and spent a year as a “children’s services consultant.”
She was terminated from the department following the death of Brown.
According to DCF Commission-er Susan Hamilton, Brown was Listro’s first foster placement with the department.
Brown was in Listro’s care one week when he died from a “blunt traumatic head injury.”
According to court records, Listro said Brown’s injuries were sustained from “falling off the bed.”
Listro said Brown fell from the bed when she was ejecting a tape from the VCR in her bedroom and the boy began crying, according to the police report.
Court records state she told police Brown cried and screamed, but then stopped and went limp while she picked him up.
However, court documents show Dr. Ronald Gross of Hartford Hospital told police “the victim’s injury did not appear consistent with the reported fall.”
Gross was the physician who pronounced Brown dead at 9:55 p.m. the evening of May 19, 2008, after he was transported to Hartford for medical attention.
The Office of the Chief State’s Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.
As a result of the death of baby Brown, several state officials called for a “complete overhaul” of the DCF to ensure no more deaths or incidents occur.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in October 2008 the department needed to be broken up and sections need to be reassigned.
“At the core of DCF’s problems and our recommendations is a fatal dilemma,” said Blumenthal at the time, adding DCF currently hires private individuals for additional services for abused and neglected children.
Blumenthal said the department cannot both hire and regulate providers.
“Doing both presents an inherent, inevitable conflict of interest,” he said. “The agency cannot be both contractor and regulator.”
In a report released in May, it was determined Brown’s death may be attributed to procedural flaws in the DCF.
The report was compiled by the Child Welfare League of America, in collaboration with DCF and the Office of the Child Advocate.
The Child Welfare League is a national nonprofit group in Virginia dedicated to child welfare issues.
According to the report, it was discovered foster parent pre-training did not “adhere” to certain components of the department’s prescribed training curriculum.
In addition to improper training, previous claims of child neglect against Listro were lost in paperwork within the department.
During the investigation, it was discovered personnel responsible for licensing Listro as a foster parent were not aware of two previous “unsubstantiated” investigations connected to the care of Listro’s own child.
In addition to Listro coming under fire, the department is also being blamed for the death of Brown.
His parents sought in May 2009 to sue to department for wrongful death.
The notice of a wrongful-death claim — dated May 12 — was sent to James Smith, the state’s claim commissioner, by Louis Flynn Jr. of the Hartford law firm Brown, Paindiris and Scott on behalf of Michael Brown Sr. of East Hartford.
According to the notice, the claims for damages for the estate of Michael Brown Jr. are estimated to be $15 million.