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State’s neglect of child abuse cases brings outrage, pennies

PHOENIX — A civil rights group called on Gov. Jan Brewer to take the blame and fire one of her staff leaders for the thousands of child abuse allegations that went uninvestigated.

Citizens for a Better Arizona stormed the state capitol building on Friday carrying buckets full of pennies. Each one-cent coin represented an abuse case that fell through the cracks.

The group’s leader, Randy Parraz, demanded to speak with the governor, who was not in her office, according to her spokesperson.

During a heated exchange, Parraz called it an outrage that Brewer would not be in her office a day after the Department of Economic Security announced it did not respond to 6,000 cases that came in through the state’s child abuse hotline.

“We want her to call for a special session, because we have a crisis going on in Arizona. No press release is going to solve it, and we want to know if she’s going to fire Mr. Carter,” Parraz said, referring to Clarence Carter, Director of Economic Security.

The governor’s spokesperson echoed Brewer’s comments yesterday and said the state is working around the clock to fix the problem.

After not getting his specific questions answered, Parraz and fellow activists dumped the pennies on a desk in the governor’s office.

He told the staff they could keep the pennies to help pay for the investigation.