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SIGNIFICANT JURY VERDICT UPHOLDS DCFS ACTIONS

CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2005 -- A U.S. District Court jury reached a verdict on Monday that vindicated the actions of DCFS workers who had requested a Skokie father to not have unsupervised contact with his children as a result of an allegation of sexual abuse against him made by an unrelated child. DCFS Director Bryan Samuels said, " This crucial verdict reinforces DCFS' mission to protect children and make decisions to put the safety and well-being of children first."

The jury rejected the claims of Patrick Delafont, his wife, Stacey, and their three children that a DCFS investigator, Andrea Jones, and her supervisor, Karen Beckelman, violated their civil rights when they sought an agreement with Stacey Delafont that her husband would not have unsupervised contact with his children pending a risk assessment that would show he posed no threat of abuse to them, or until an investigation showed there was no credible evidence of the alleged abuse. Delafont, his wife, and their three children claimed that the requests made by the DCFS workers constituted a violation of their constitutional rights by interfering with their rights to live together as a family. They sought compensatory and punitive damages.

The two-week trial before Senior U.S. District Judge James B. Moran resulted in a jury finding of no liability against either DCFS defendant. The jury rejected all of the Delafonts' claims. DCFS' workers were represented at trial by William G. Sullivan and Robert Grabemann of the law firm of Martin, Brown and Sullivan of Chicago. Bill Sullivan called the jury's verdict "an important victory for every DCFS worker who daily has to make difficult decisions under emergency circumstances."

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Diane Jackson
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
312-814-6847

 

 

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