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2 Arizona child welfare investigators fired

PHOENIX — State officials on Friday said none of the cases handled by two
fired child-welfare investigators have been compromised.

Two investigators with the state Office of Child Welfare Investigations were
recently dismissed after it was revealed their resumes had false or incomplete

Child welfare investigations office spokeswoman Jennifer Bowser told the
Arizona Capitol Times
that none of their cases are at
risk of being invalidated.

Bowser declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the dismissals.

Some attorneys, however, said false backgrounds of investigators who may have
served as witnesses can raise credibility issues in criminal and juvenile court

Bill Owsley, at attorney with the Maricopa County Office of the Legal Advocate
who represents children in Child Protective Services cases, said questions about
investigators’ integrity can jeopardize information they gathered that nobody
else can corroborate.

The allegations made against the fired officers include lying about prior
employment and omitting the reason for a past departure. According to a summary
of an Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board investigation,
investigator David Neuss admitted to sending an explicit cellphone photo of
himself to a girlfriend while he on duty at the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.
The report also shows that Neuss quit after the admission but was also
officially fired.

Neuss told the Times that he didn’t offer the information because Greg McKay,
the agency’s chief of child welfare investigations, never asked.

“If he didn’t look into it, it’s his problem,” Neuss said.

Neuss also still believes his firing was because of a political spat between
McKay and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.

Records show investigator Joshua Ekrem was dismissed after it was discovered he
lied about being a former deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s

“Based on conversations with this employee, OCWI Chief Greg McKay began to
question the veracity of some of the information this employee shared with
him,” Bowser said.

Ekrem was not immediately available for comment.

The agency was established by the Legislature in 2012 after a task force
recommended the idea in the wake of several high-profile child deaths.

A group appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer currently working on legislation to make
Child Protective Services a stand-alone agency has not yet figured out what role
the Office of Child Welfare Investigations will play.

The group last week removed language from a draft giving police authority to

Information from: Arizona Capitol Times,


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