Grand Jury Blasts DHR

A Bessemer Cutoff grand jury called the Bessemer DHR office’s handling of a child abuse case “negligent, reckless and reprehensible.” Here’s the summary from The Birmingham News that contains the story. The grand jury said the only reason it didn’t issue indictments was that DHR’s record-keeping was so sloppy that no one could tell which DHR employee was responsible for the transgressions.

The case involved Sean Porter, a toddler who suffered severe bruising to his groin after being kicked by Michael Veno. A jury later convicted Veno of aggravated child abuse, and Circuit Judge Mac Parsons sentenced him to the maximum 20 years. The child’s mother, Jacelyn Boudreaux, pleaded guilty to child abuse and received probation for failing to seek medical attention for the child.

The grand jury said that if DHR had done its job, the child’s injuries would not have occurred. It said DHR had tried to cover up its failures and had tried to fire an employee after she pointed out mistakes to her superiors.