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Activists Seek Lawsuit, Suggest Criminal Responsibility in CPS Non-Investigations

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The activists from Citizens for a Better Arizona are all over Child Protective Services and the agency's failure to investigate 6,000 claims of neglect and abuse.

In addition to making frequent made-for-TV trips to the Department of Economic Security (the parent agency of CPS) and Governor Jan Brewer's office, CBA's also looking at taking legal action over the debacle.

See also:
-Child Protective Services Failed to Investigate Thousands of Allegations

CBA President Randy Parraz posted on Facebook seeking child-abuse victims (or more likely, their families) whose abuse was reported to the hotline, but not investigated within seven days, to file a lawsuit.

Before the CPS Oversight Committee meeting last week, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery repeatedly stated that CPS was required by law to investigate these cases it admittedly ignored.

Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter explained before this committee that the allegations were made over the CPS hotline, before a someone coded the cases "Not Investigated," or "NI," and were never passed on to CPS investigators. Nearly half of those allegations were made this year.

In an e-mail this morning, Parraz suggested possible criminal charges over the CPS failure:

"What we have here is a potential conspiracy among a number of actors at CPS who over a period of time participated in a systematic approach to consistently violate state law at the expense of child safety (see reference below). Gov. Brewer's reluctance to take swift action against Mr. Carter may be interpreted as promoting and aiding in the commission of some 6,000 offenses against children."

In the "reference below," Parraz attached the state law on criminal conspiracy:

13-1003. Conspiracy; classification

A. A person commits conspiracy if, with the intent to promote or aid the commission of an offense, such person agrees with one or more persons that at least one of them or another person will engage in conduct constituting the offense and one of the parties commits an overt act in furtherance of the offense, except that an overt act shall not be required if the object of the conspiracy was to commit any felony upon the person of another, or to commit an offense under section 13-1508 or 13-1704.

B. If a person guilty of conspiracy, as defined in subsection A of this section, knows or has reason to know that a person with whom such person conspires to commit an offense has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same offense, such person is guilty of conspiring to commit the offense with such other person or persons, whether or not such person knows their identity.

Last week, Carter promised to have a plan of action no later than today, but at the time of this post, we sure hadn't seen it.

It's already been more than a week since the problem was discovered.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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