Apr 11, 2013 5:01 PM by JD Downing

Judge blames social services for child's death

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) - An Adams County judge is blaming social workers for the death of a toddler beaten by his mother's boyfriend.

Judge Chris Melonakis excoriated the county's human services department from the bench Thursday while sentencing Donald Jean Scarlett to 42 years in prison. He said the agency should be taken before a grand jury and said 21-month-old Matthew Harris had been "failed to death" by authorities.

Social workers returned Michael and his 3-year-old brother to their mother weeks before Michael died in February 2011. The judge said there were reports that the older boy was injured but the agency didn't follow up.

The county hasn't commented yet on the judge's accusations.

Michael's death was included in a Denver Post-KUSA-TV series on children in the social service system who have died of abuse or neglect.


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