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Trust fund established for abused 5-year-old boy found in dark closet [Updated]

November 9, 2010 |  8:30 am

Los Angeles County officials have established a trust fund to benefit an abused boy whose story appeared two weeks ago in The Times.

The 5-year-old boy, identified only as Johnny, was rescued last year from a dark closet in San Bernardino County. Much of his body had been burned by a glue gun and hot spoons.

Authorities determined he had been starved and sodomized, taunted and punched, forced to eat soap and crouch motionless in corners.

His discovery in San Bernardino County came two years after Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services conducted a flawed investigation into reports of possible abuse or neglect in his home. An internal review later found evidence existed at the time that should have required DCFS officials to remove him from the home or place him under intense oversight.

As a result of those findings, DCFS supervising social worker Rocío La Voie received a 10-day suspension for improperly managing social worker Alejandra Azucena’s investigation of Johnny’s welfare. La Voie filed an appeal of the suspension, saying she did not violate department policy and did not show poor judgement. That appeal led to the release of information in the case that would otherwise have remained confidential.

After the story appeared, a number of readers contacted the newspaper asking for information on how they might help the boy. As a result, DCFS worked with the boy’s court-appointed attorney who successfully petitioned the court to establish a trust fund.

Checks can be made out to Children's Law Center Los Angeles/Trust Account and mailed to the Children’s Law Center, Care of Firm Director Ivy Carey, 201 Centre Plaza Drive, Suite 9, Monterey Park, CA 91754.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m.: Some readers have asked about Johnny's current situation. Johnny has been placed by San Bernardino County social workers in a foster home and is in the final stages of adoption.

He is making good progress in mental health therapy three times a week, and recently was enrolled in a school program for academically gifted students, San Bernardino Sheriff's Det. Roxy Bessinger told The Times when interviewed for the first article on his case.]

Read the original report: "L.A. County dismissed allegations of abuse involving boy later tortured in San Bernardino County"

-- Garrett Therolf