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Charges filed against 2 DCFS workers who handled AJ Freund case

File Photo | Andrew Freund (undated photo).

Two DCFS caseworkers that investigated abuse of AJ Freund, who was murdered in 2019, were arrested on Thursday and are facing felony charges.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday evening that arrest warrants had been served on Carlos J. Acosta, 54, of Woodstock, and Andrew R. Polovin, 48, of Island Lake.

Acosta and Polovin were both charged with two felony counts of endangering the life of a child and one felony count of reckless conduct, according to the sheriff’s office.

Both men were taken into custody without incident and transported to the McHenry County jail Thursday evening.

The sheriff’s office said they will not be publicly releasing any additional relating to the investigation at this time. Court records for the case are not yet available.

Carlos J. Acosta, 54, of Woodstock, (left) and Andrew R. Polovin, 48, of Island Lake (right).

Acosta and Polovin are being held on $20,000 bonds each and both will appear in court Friday morning.

In May, a search warrant affidavit was filed by McHenry County State’s Attorney investigator Robert Diviacchi, the Northwest Herald reported.

Prosecutors were looking into filing charges against Polovin, who was a DCFS supervisor, for his handling in the case of 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy Andrew Freund Jr., who was murdered in 2019.

The search warrant was seeking the complete personnel file, training transcripts and employee evaluations of former Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) supervisor Andrew Polovin, according to the Northwest Herald.

JoAnn Cunningham, 37, closes her eyes as video recordings are played during a sentencing hearing in Woodstock on Thursday, July 16, 2020. | Photo: John Starks / Daily Herald.

“From the Inspector General’s report, it is indicated that Mr. Polovin’s lack of supervisory oversight was willful and [wanton], given the nature of the injury, the explanations that had been given and rejected by police and unsupported by medical examination …” Diviacchi said in the affidavit at the time.

In December 2018, Crystal Lake police contacted DCFS, who opened an investigation into abuse allegations against AJ Freund’s mother, JoAnn Cunningham, after officers found AJ to have suspicious bruising.

Polovin was the supervisor of caseworker Carlos Acosta, who was assigned to the case. They closed the case after attributing the bruising to the family dog, despite AJ telling an emergency room doctor, “Maybe someone hit me with a belt. Maybe mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.”

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A federal lawsuit was filed on October 16 alleging that Acosta, who is also a McHenry County Board Member, and Polovin conducted ‘sham investigations’ and falsified reports despite clear signs that AJ was being abused before his death.

The lawsuit alleged Acosta falsified the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol and indicated that AJ’s bruise was caused by a dog, despite obvious inconsistencies with the story.

File Photo – Andrew Freund Sr. | Photo: Matthew Apgar / Northwest Herald.

“Defendants Acosta and Polovin, ignoring DCFS Procedures and the Prime Directive of ANCRA, returned AJ right back into the claws of his abusers, who were further emboldened by the Defendants’ indifference to gear up their infliction of horrific physical and mental abuse and torture, culminating in AJ’s murder on April 15, 2019,” Attorney Peter J. Flowers said in the lawsuit at the time.

Polovin and Acosta were later fired by DCFS in December.

AJ’s parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham, were both charged with first-degree murder on April 24, 2019 after an almost week-long search for the child. Police found the young boy’s body buried in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving 35 years in the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois.

Records show she is expected to be released on April 24, 2054. She entered the prison with over a year of credit for time served in the McHenry County jail awaiting trial.

Andrew Freund Sr. pleaded not guilty to the murder. However, Freund’s attorney, Special Public Defender Henry Sugden, said that he was in discussions with prosecutors on a plea deal.

Sugden told McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt that he thought a deal might be finalized by September 16. “I think we’ll probably have a resolution for the court at that time,” Sugden said at Freund’s most recent court hearing.


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