DCF SUPPORTED ALLEGATION OF SEXUAL ABUSE REVERSED AT FAIR HEARING

KT, a 48 year old male graphic designer, was accused by the 5 year old daughter of a female friend of touching her in her private area. She also said that he had her touch him. The five year old reported this to a social worker (a mandated reporter) who in turn reported the allegation to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The initial report of abuse was made to DCF on December 10, 2018. DCF conducted an investigation and on January 9, 2019 DCF supported the allegation. KT received a “perpetrator letter” from DCF informing him that an allegation of sexual abuse had been made against him and that after investigation DCF supported the allegation.

KT met with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover for an extensive (2 hour) initial consultation. Attorney Lewin explained in detail the Appeal Process – which is called a “Fair Hearing”. KT retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin – through discovery – obtained full copies of the initial report of abuse (called the 51A report) and the full DCF investigation report (called the 51B report). Attorney Lewin took a full statement of the facts from KT.

In order for DCF to support the allegation there must be evidence and proof that KT was a “caregiver” to the child “at the time in question”. Attorney Lewin prepared and submitted to the Fair Hearing Officer a comprehensive Memorandum setting forth all of the legal arguments in KT’s behalf. In the Memorandum Attorney Lewin argued – among other things – that the evidence did NOT establish that KT was a “caregiver” to the child.

On May 9, 2019 at the DCF Lowell Area Office in Chelmsford the Fair Hearing took place. Present at the hearing were the Fair Hearing Officer, KT, Attorney Lewin, and the two Social Workers who conducted the investigation. During the hearing Attorney Lewin stressed the lack of evidence to establish that KT was a “caregiver” to the child. Attorney Lewin was able to get the social workers to admit in their testimony that there was NO evidence that at the time of the alleged abuse that KT was a caregiver. On September 18, 2019 the Fair Hearing Officer wrote a lengthy (7 pages single spaced) decision in which she concluded that DCF did NOT have “reasonable cause to determine that KT was a caregiver” of the child. The Fair Hearing Officer ordered the Department’s decision¬†reversed.

These Fair hearings are very technical but they can be won. Because all decisions reversing a decision of DCF must be reviewed by the Commissioner of the DCF, the final decision was not received by KT and Attorney Lewin until October 22, 2019. Attorney Lewin notified KT that he had won his case and KT was overcome. He thanked Attorney Lewin profusely.