By Ed Runyan
A Trumbull County grand jury has refused to indict anyone from Trumbull County Children Services for the handling of a visitation at agency offices that led to the rape of a 9-month-old girl in the board’s custody.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a news release Wednesday saying the grand jury did not indict two Children Services board employees about whom it received information.
DeWine’s office, including investigators from his Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, as well as staff attorneys, investigated employees’ actions at the request of Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins.
“The investigation looked into whether actions by employees constituted any child endangerment or other violation of Ohio law,” DeWine said.
The girl’s biological father, Cody Beemer, 23, of Austin Avenue, was convicted of rape and other charges and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
His wife, Felicia Banks-Beemer, 21, remains in the Trumbull County jail awaiting trial on similar charges.
Police said the couple raped their daughter at the CSB offices on Reeves Road while visiting her in April 2011 and recorded the acts on a cellphone. The girl had never lived with the couple, having been removed by CSB just after her birth.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the attorney general, said he could not discuss “names or positions for uncharged suspects,” so he was not able to identify whether the two employees were social workers or supervisors.w
Tim Schaffner, director of the CSB since April 2012, said he believes the employees considered for prosecution were involved in the record-keeping portion of the case, because the record keeping seemed to be the investigators’ focus.
Additionally, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which has oversight of Trumbull CSB, reported finding “no issues” with the agency’s supervision in the Beemer episode, Schaffner said.
The record-keeping functions were carried out by caseworkers and supervisors, Schaffner said.
Since the rape, the agency has made changes to its visitation areas and video capabilities, as well as worked with the state to make policy changes.
Job and Family Services criticized CSB’s record keeping in the Beemer matter because employees received information about the child and her parents starting in November 2010, a couple of months after the child was born, but didn’t record the information in the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System until October 2011.
One supervisor was suspended for two weeks over the record-keeping issues.
But the former director, Nick Kerosky, and Schaffner said more current record keeping would not have prevented the rape from occurring.
The information CSB entered late into the computer system was “mundane,” and the information CSB had regarding previous sex offenses committed by Cody Beemer would not have predicted that he would rape the girl, Schaffner said.