Gabriel Fernandez case: Charges to be dismissed against social workers in death of 8-year-old Palmdale boy | #childabuse | #children | #kids

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge is expected Thursday to dismiss charges against social workers who were accused of child abuse and falsifying records related to the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.The dismissal was long expected after an appellate panel ruled in January that the social workers should not face charges for failing to prevent the torture and killing of the Palmdale boy.

Gabriel died in May 2013 and his mother and her boyfriend were later convicted of torturing and murdering him. Evidence at trial indicated months of beatings and torture.RELATED: Uncle breaks silence on Gabriel Fernandez 7 years after his death

Social workers Stefanie Rodriguez, 35 and Patricia Clement, 69, and supervisors Kevin Bom, 41, and Gregory Merritt, 64, had each been charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of falsifying public records. Prosecutors say they failed to take the appropriate steps to protect Gabriel and then falsified documents related to his case.

In January, a three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal issued an opinion directing a lower court to dismiss the charges against the social workers. In a 2-1 opinion, the panel concluded that there was no probable cause to hold the four on charges of child abuse and falsifying documents.

RELATED: Palmdale woman, boyfriend sentenced in 8-year-old’s torture killing

In June 2018, Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced Isauro Aguirre to death for the boy’s first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of murder involving torture. Pearl Sinthia Fernandez was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading to first-degree murder and admitting the torture allegation.

Lomeli also handled the social worker case and in 2018 had denied a motion to dismiss the charges, saying the boy’s death was “foreseeable.”

The appellate court formally sent the matter back to the lower court in April and Lomeli is expected to officially drop the charges on Thursday.

RELATED: Palmdale abuse case: Mother of slain 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez pleads guilty

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