AJ Freund murder: 2 former DCFS employees who oversaw Crystal Lake boy's case charged with child endangerment

ByJesse Kirsch WLS logo
Friday, September 11, 2020
AJ Freund murder: 2 former DCFS employees who oversaw Crystal Lake boy's case charged with child endangerment
Two former DCFS workers are facing felony charges in the AJ Freund case.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WLS) -- Two former employees for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services who oversaw the AJ Freund case have been charged with felonies.

Carlos Acosta, 54, and Andrew Polovin, 48, oversaw the 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy's case before he was found dead last year.

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"I love him and I miss him and there's nothing I wouldn't do to bring him back," Cunningham told the court.

Both Acosta and Polovin have been charged with felony child endangerment and reckless conduct. The grand jury indictments said the DCFS workers committed failures that were a "proximate cause of AJ Freund's death."

A lawsuit filed on behalf of AJ Freund's estate accuses these men of failing to fully investigate allegations of abuse against AJ.

The attorney representing the estate released a statement, saying:

"These arrests have been a long time coming and serve to reinforce our claims about the need to hold not only these individuals accountable but also highlight the need for changes in the agency itself. We all heard the tapes and saw the pictures and videos. We know AJ's death was entirely preventable. These two DCFS employees who were supposed to help him ignored every red flag even ignoring reports of abuse from the local police, medical professionals, and AJ's neighbors.

"Our ongoing lawsuit continues, as we work to hold them accountable for their reckless and apathetic disregard for AJ and other children within the DCFS system."

Both men have bonded out of jail. Acosta is a member of the McHenry County Board, whith his current term set to end in December of 2022.

Freund's parents were charged in the boy's death. Last July, his mother JoAnn Cunninghan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

RELATED: Crystal Lake home of murdered boy demolished

Crews demolished the Crystal Lake house where police said five-year-old A.J. Freund was murdered by his parents Wednesday morning.

DCFS declined to comment on the charges against their former employees.

Acosta serves on the McHenry County Board. Friday afternoon Board Chairman Jack Franks asked him to resign as a result of the charges.

"I am a firm believer in the presumption of innocence. It is not some quaint, antiquated notion," Franks said in part in a statement. "However, the ability of the County Board to conduct the people's business cannot be compromised. I encourage Mr. Acosta to reflect on this and make the decision to resign, which would be in the best interests of his constituents and the County Board."

Since AJ Freund's gruesome killing, Tracy Kotzman has been fighting for that 5-year-old boy's justice.

"I hope the charges actually stick and they're actually found guilty of the charges," Kotzman said. "Because they did leave this child in an abusive situation, which left him in danger."