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Crime & Courts

Lawsuit claims DCFS conducted 'sham investigations' into abuse of AJ Freund

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court accuses two Illinois Department of Child and Family Services employees of conducting "sham investigations" and falsifying records related to the alleged neglect and abuse of slain Crystal Lake boy AJ Freund.

The suit, filed by Chicago law firm Meyers and Flowers, seeks unspecified money damages for the 5-year-old boy's death. Meyers and Flowers represent the State Bank of Geneva, which is the administrator of AJ's estate. The boy's three siblings – his older brother and and a younger brother and sister – are beneficiaries of his estate.

DCFS Child Protection Supervisor Andrew Polovin and Child Protection Specialist Carlos Acosta, who also serves on the McHenry County Board, are named as defendants in the 36-page civil complaint. The lawsuit details the events that led up to and followed two separate DCFS hot-line calls in March and December of 2018.

"In 2017 and 2018, police officers, medical personnel and AJ’s neighbors made numerous calls to DCFS’ Child Abuse Hot line … detailing not only AJ’s observable physical injuries, but also the appalling condition of this home at 94 Dole Avenue, which he shared with his younger brother …,” attorney Peter Flowers wrote in the civil complaint.

AJ's parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr., each are charged with first-degree murder in addition to a litany of additional offenses tied to the boy's April 15 death.

Police say Freund falsely reported AJ missing on April 18, knowing the boy had died days earlier in the family home at 94 Dole Avenue, Crystal Lake. Days of the parents' public cries for help finding their son came to a halt April 24, when Freund allegedly led police to the shallow grave where AJ's body was discovered.

The parents reportedly subjected AJ to to long cold showers and physical beatings as punishment, records show.

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