By Ed Runyan
The Trumbull County Children Services agency admitted Tuesday that one of its employees was responsible for the threatening message sent to Atty. David Engler’s Internet website Friday.
Engler, who turned the matter over to the Ohio attorney general’s office, Ohio Inspector General and Canfield Police Department, says the message probably qualifies as a criminal act.
“They literally committed a crime on public time,” Engler said of the person who posted the remark. He said the act is another indication that Children Services is an organization that “needs to be replaced.”
Engler has filed several lawsuits against the agency in recent months after the revelation that a 9-month-old girl in Children Services custody was raped by her biological parents during a visit with the child at the agency’s Reeves Road offices. The couple reportedly videotaped the acts on a cellphone.
A Tuesday press release from Nick Kerosky, executive director of Children Services, said: “An employee has come forward and admitted to sending a post to Mr. Engler’s blog.”
It adds that the message was not accepted by the person who administers the site, so it was never posted “and was therefore never made public.”
The site is called “David Engler’s Elder Law Blog,” and is at http://davidengler.wordpress.com.
The press release says Children Services “will be taking appropriate action to deal with the matter.”
It adds, “This was an action of an individual and was not authorized or sanctioned by the agency. Additionally, the agency had no prior knowledge that this post was being attempted.”
Reached by telephone Tuesday, Kerosky said he would not reveal at this time who the employee is or what type of work the employee does.
Engler said he believes the person who wrote the message should “call me up and apologize, admit to being stupid and ask that I not file charges.”
Engler was in common-pleas court Thursday, the day before the message was received, for a hearing in one of the suits that received a great deal of media attention.
That suit accuses Children Services of illegally requiring the public to sign their name before entering a Children Services Board meeting in October.
According to Engler, the CSB employee’s message says, “I’ll warn you and warn you only once.”
Then it tells Engler, who lives in Canfield, to “stay out of Trumbull County” and “go back to Mahoning County.”
It also tells Engler to “stop attacking the good people doing the work of Children Services.” The message says that “we will try to embarrass you and do you economic damage,” Engler said.
Engler was able to determine that the message came from the Warren area and was sent from a computer on a statewide database.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which has oversight of Children Services, is conducting a second review of Children Services’ visitation policies and the agency’s handling of the case involving the rape victim.