Pinellas Sheriff Fires Child Protection Supervisor
An internal investigation concluded, among other things, that she failed to report suspected child abuse or neglect, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
PINELLAS COUNTY – A woman who oversaw child protection investigators in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was fired today (Dec. 15) after an investigation concluded that, among other things, she had failed to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
The investigation also concluded that she violated agency policy for using her position as a child protection investigator supervisor to conduct unauthorized psychosocial evaluations and make improper recommendations to a circuit court judge, deputies said.
Deputies are conducting a criminal investigation into Jayne Johnson’s alleged failure to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect. Johnson, 56, had worked for the sheriff’s office since Sept. 27, 1999.
Johnson agreed to help a personal friend whose granddaughter and her husband were in a pending child custody dispute with the husband’s ex-girlfriend over their three children, deputies said. A custody hearing was scheduled July 18 with Circuit Court Judge Jack Helinger.
Investigators said Johnson’s friend was concerned about the children’s behavior, which she believed was the result of living with the former girlfriend and her boyfriend. Johnson’s friend wanted her to conduct an evaluation that would help to ensure child custody was given to the granddaughter and her husband.
On July 12, Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, agreed and brought the three children to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s child protection investigation facility. While this was not a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office matter or investigation, Johnson, who was in uniform, used the Sheriff’s Office facility and Sheriff’s Office resources to conduct psychosocial evaluations on each child.
During these interviews with the children, Johnson learned of allegations regarding potential physical abuse and drug abuse by the mother and her boyfriend. Johnson prepared a written report that she sent to Helinger before the custody hearing. The report recommended he give custody to her friend’s grandchild and husband.
Helinger learned that Johnson had improperly used her position as a child protection investigator supervisor to conduct an invalid investigation and immediately notified the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Investigation Division conducted an investigation into the allegations and an Administrative Review Board determined that Johnson did in fact violate agency policy.
The investigation concluded that Johnson misused her position as a child protection investigator supervisor to conduct psychosocial evaluations on the children and she made recommendations to a circuit court judge to influence the outcome of a child custody dispute.
Deputies said the investigation also concluded that Johnson, a 27-year veteran child protection investigator, violated state law and committed a felony by failing to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child. Under state law, deputies said, a child protection investigator supervisor is considered a mandatory reporter of child abuse and Johnson failed to report such abuse so a proper investigation could be conducted to ensure the children’s safety.
For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to pcsoweb.com.
Pinellas Sheriff | Child Abuse | Child Protection | Tampabay News
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