"This is my office, and these are my deputy prosecutors, and we should have filed a charge of violation of a protective order," Dvorak said. "We would have if we would have done more than a cursory review of the evidence." Dvorak blamed the deputy prosecutor for failing to locate the file containing the outstanding protective order against Mwaura. "This DPA failed to exercise the thoroughness expected, particularly in crimes with women and children as victims of domestic abuse," Dvorak.
This case doesn't reveal whether case workers for the Department of Child Services failed in any way to help protect this child; however, another case that originated in South Bend with ties to Indianapolis is troubling. In a separate story, The Tribune reports on the case of a 4-year old boy that everyone agrees has been subject to abuse. The boy's father, David Weist, was granted sole custody of his son after a DCS investigation revealed that his mother, who resided in Indianapolis, had abused him. Because the abuse occurred in Marion County, that's where the abuse case was referred by authorities. Although a CPS report stated that the child would not be returning to his mother's care at the time the father was granted sole custody, that's not how things turned out.
A year ago, the mother filed a petition in the Marion County Circuit Court to re-establish her visitation rights. The court granted her limited supervised visitation rights initially that could be expanded to weekend visitation and gradually growing until the visitations encompassed the entire weekend. According to the father, the boy was returned to his care upset and bruised after the first visit. Weist hired an Indianapolis attorney, who attempted to get an emergency order ending the mother's visitation rights. To their disappointment, a DCS caseworker failed to testify at the emergency hearing according to a spokesperson because of lack of sufficient notice. The mother blamed the father for the injuries, and the judge ruled there was a lack of evidence to conclude who had caused the injuries so the mother's visitation rights should remain in place. Quoting from the order, The Tribune reports:
"The evidence presented today convinces me that the child has suffered some injuries," Commissioner Mark Renner wrote in his May 13 order, signed as approved by Judge Louis Rosenberg. "Unfortunately, what I believe ... is that the child caused these injuries to himself. ... It is a very sad event, a horribly sad event ...
"I cannot find that the mother caused injury to her child," he continued. "I am not saying there's not additional evidence that may be available to CPS and law enforcement that I'm not privy to, but based on what I have in front of me today I cannot find that the mother did these things."The father claims that his son has returned an emotional wreck following subsequent visits but showed no signs of bruising or other signs of physical abuse. The father's attorney has filed for a change of judge according to The Tribune. "The judge made it perfectly clear that if he doesn't take him (to visit his mother), he'll take custody from him," Copenhaver says of her husband.
"Yet," Weist says, shaking his head, "I can't protect him."