An Illinois family is suing the state after a child welfare investigator vindictively abducted three of their children for over a year due to “hurt feelings.”
Jacob and Patricia Krueger’s three children were taken into custody by the Department of Children and Family Services (DFCS) in 2019 after one of the children was supposed to have been discharged from the hospital for a complex medical issue.
Aaron Rapier, the attorney representing the Kruegers, explained that Dr. Channing Petrak, the DCFS contractor in question, was at the hospital when the child was set to be discharged after a year-and-a-half long investigation, but reneged after feeling slighted by something that Jacob Krueger said.
In a reactionary emotional response to feeling “embarrassed,” Petrak decided to hurt the Kruegers. Instead of relying on the facts of the case to make a decision, Petrak instead went with her emotions and feelings, which greatly harmed the family. (Related: Child Protective Services (CPS) is also now using artificial intelligence to decide which children to abduct.)
“While [Petrak] went into the meeting intending to discharge this child home to the family, which means of course that she didn’t suspect any abuse or neglect at that time, she did a complete 180 after she was embarrassed in front of a colleague,” Rapier told Center Square.
The lawsuit further explains that Petrak was not the doctor of the child in question. She simply inserted herself into the situation as a dictator, wielding her perceived power in a weaponized way to cause harm because of her personal feelings.
“Jacob told Defendant / Petrak he did not want her involved in [the child’s] care, treatment, or discharge planning,” Rapier says.
“Defendant / Petrak was offended and embarrassed by Jacob’s statements. She left the room, as requested, but Defendant / Petrak was not done with the Krueger family.”
Petrak apparently responded to having her feelings hurt by falsely claiming that the child in question was being “medically abused,” even though this was an absolute lie.
The Krueger family had already endured a painful 17 months of investigation by the DFCS, which found that there was no medical neglect taking place. But Petrak lied and claimed otherwise at the last minute, resulting in all three of the Krueger children being abducted from their family by the state for 467 days.
“[The child with the complex medical problem’s sibling] was illegally seized and unlawfully detained by Defendants for no reason other than that he is [her] brother and the adult Plaintiff’s son,” the lawsuit explains.
Likewise, the third child “was illegally seized and unlawfully detained for no reason other than his relation to the other Plaintiffs. Defendants did not have a court order, consent, or the exigent circumstances necessary to seize him.”
“It’s just too scary that someone has that much power and can act so arbitrarily,” Rapier added about Petrak’s abuse of power and authority.
Michelle Weidner, executive director of the Family Justice Resource Center, also told Center Square that “a wrongful allegation can happen to anyone.”
“For children under about age of three, any birth injury, medical condition or accidental injury can launch an investigation,” she added in a statement.
“When children have complicated medical situations, the parents need to be able to trust the hospitals and providers to make their child better. All too often though, when a child has an unexplained medical finding the hospital calls in a child abuse pediatrician who DCFS relies upon to find abuse and write medical opinions in anticipation of litigation.”
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