Grandmother petitions board of supervisors to investigate CWS negligence

Patrizia Sanchez calls to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to investigate the negligence of Child Welfare Services who recently paid $32 million to settle a lawsuit over their negligence of the case

VISALIA – After a local child was subject to malnourishment, neglect and forced into ice and sun baths, CWS failed to remove the child from the abuse. Now, the child’s grandmother is petitioning the board of supervisors to investigate.

Photo by Rigo Moran

A three-year-old child, only identified in court documents by his initials J.G., was subject to egregious abuse that resulted in permanent brain damage, all within the first few years of his life. After a turbulent lawsuit against child welfare services (CWS) for their negligence and failure to remove J.G. from abuse, the child’s paternal grandmother and temporary guardian, Patrizia Sanchez, petitioned the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to take action. However, the board has referred any comments or questions about the petition to the Tulare County Counsel, in order to abide by the CWS confidentiality code 827 and 10850.

“I do not want this to happen again to any more children, and in order for this change to happen Tulare County Board of Supervisors need to investigate these actions and implement some rules and repercussions for this not to happen again,” Sanchez wrote in the petition. “We must hold them accountable.”

This comes after Sanchez had sued the county in 2021 for their failure to perform their state-mandated duties, which led to CWS paying a $32 million settlement, which was finalized this year. However, Sanchez’s fight for justice is far from over. Her petition to the board of supervisors has already received nearly 700 signatures out of 1,000 from residents.  

“My grandson will forever be affected by this, he cannot walk, talk, eat on his own, or do anything a normal three-year-old should be able to do,” Sanchez said. “All of which was preventable if CWS/CPS just did their job and answered the numerous calls for concern.”

Sanchez has documented her journey with CWS on her private Facebook group, Journey’s Helping Hand. On the page, there are videos of depositions of social workers and county employees during the trial. There is also video evidence of CWS employees being interviewed and verifying that there were forged documents in their name which they don’t remember filing.

Photo by Rigo Moran

“The fact that the county has presented falsified documents and forged signatures as evidence to cover up their tracks in this neglect is inexcusable,” Sanchez said. “None of their employees involved in this case have been investigated or reprimanded for this. In fact, some have even been promoted.”

J.G. was born on Sept. 7, 2019 to John Gonzalez and Jacqueline Navarro of Lindsay. According to the lawsuit, J.G.’s father did not believe in modern medicine and is an avid follower of Dr. Robert Morse, a Florida doctor who uses Naturopathic medicine, or holistic medicine. Morse practices iridology, which is a practice that determines information about a patient’s health through studying the shapes and colors of the patient’s iris in the eye. He promotes raw food diets, which have been known to cause hallucinations, and claims diseases are not real and that the body can heal itself.

Photo by Rigo Moran

More specifically in the case of J.G., Morse teaches cancer is caused by eating cooked or processed foods which mothers pass on to their children through breast milk. This led parents to avoid feeding J.G. breastmilk, and instead was only provided with a plant based diet of raw, pureed fruit as “part of a premeditated experiment to demonstrate that it was possible to raise an entirely plant-based baby,” court documents read.

In accordance with Morse’s “medical” philosophy, J.G. was delivered at home via what is known as a lotus birth, which involves leaving the umbilical cord and placenta attached to the newborn until it falls away on its own. J.G. was forced to feed off the placenta for approximately a week after his birth. Not only that, but in his very first week of life, Gonzalez began subjecting J.G. to extreme temperatures. The father posted photos of this conduct on his public social media accounts.

“For example, J.G. was repeatedly and routinely subjected to ice baths, consisting of a tub outside, with water and ice in it,” court documents state. “The parents would keep heaters in his room at night, under the belief the high temperatures would expel toxins from the Child. Likewise, the Child was given ‘sun baths’, exposing him to extreme heat for prolonged periods of time.”

The unfortunate turning point for this case was after J.G. fell ill during a vacation with his two parents, where he became unresponsive. Allegedly, his parents ignored his emergency state, and when the child was finally taken to the hospital, he was placed on life support and expected to die. Fortunately J.G. lived through the abuse, however, not unscathed. His abuse led to permanent brain damage. The Orange County Child Protective Service immediately opened an investigation, and documented gross negligence from the Tulare County CWS, according to Sanchez. 

“It is due to their severe mishandling and refusal to intervene that has caused JG irreparable physical, mental and emotional damage that will be with him for the rest of his life. Decades of his life expectancy have been taken away due to the Tulare County CWS/CPS not stepping in and ignoring all of my cries for help,” Sanchez said. 

When the County became aware of J.G.’s condition, Sanchez said they immediately set out to cover up their negligence. In a spiraling scheme of corruption, the County went as far as altering records in an effort to change the timeline of events, which was later discovered by Sanchez’s attorney. Sanchez, filed the lawsuit against the county on behalf of her infant grandson on March 17, 2021. Sanchez’s case was taken on by Los Angeles-based law firm Panish, Shea, Boyle, Ravipudi LLP which filed an amended complaint on Feb. 7, 2022. In a Jan. 30 press release, the firm stated it believed the settlement was the largest ever obtained against a child protective services agency by a child abuse survivor in the state of California.

Sanchez sued the county for failure to respond to any report of a child in danger within 10 days.  that negligent hiring, supervision or retention of its employees led to the “unfitness or incompetence” of the employees handling of reports of abuse; and general negligence for not investigating J.G.’s father’s reported actions and failing to open an abuse case despite determining Child Welfare Services were necessary. 

However, Tulare County CWS, alongside the Tulare County Counsel, denied responsibility and claimed they were unaware of the abuse of the child. Sanches was able to submit clear evidence to the court demonstrating multiple attempts to contact CWS, with little to no response. Sanchez said she had called CWS 10 times in March of 2020, during the time J.G. was in his parents’ care. However, the calls were never returned or documented, according to the civil suit. The landmark settlement of $32 million was reached just weeks before a trial was set to begin in Visalia that would have spotlighted alarming systemic issues within the county’s department of Children Welfare Services. 

“We have since settled a lawsuit with the Tulare County CWS/CPS, proving their culpability in this harm done to JG. However, there have been no further investigations as to why JG’s case was ignored or why they alter evidence of my initial reports,” Sanchez said. “These are our children here in Tulare County. We need to help them and investigate CWS/CPS and County Counsel.”

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