AJ Freund murder: Former DCFS worker who oversaw Crystal Lake boy's case pleads not guilty

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Thursday, September 17, 2020
AJ Freund murder: Former DCFS worker who oversaw Crystal Lake boy's case pleads not guilty
A former child welfare worker says he is not to blame for a death of a little boy in Crystal Lake.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WLS) -- Andrew Polovin, one of the two former DCFS workers charged in the death of 5-year-old A.J Freund, pleaded not guilty in a court appearance Thursday.

Polovin, 48, and Carlos Acosta, 54, have both been charged with endangering the life of a child and reckless conduct.

RELATED: AJ Freund murder: JoAnn Cunningham gets 35-year prison sentence in beating death of 5-year-old son

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

The indictments accuse Polovin and Acosta of knowingly permitting AJ to be placed in circumstances that endangered his life.

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

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.

A status hearing in Polovin's case has been scheduled for October 29. He faces between two to five years behind bars....or probation.

Acosta will be arraigned next week.

A group supporting justice for AJ was present outside the courthouse.

"It's about time," said Tracy Kotzman, a member of the group. "I'm very happy that charges have been filed and I hope they stick."

The Crystal Lake boy was found dead in a shallow grave not far from his parent's home last year. The horrifying child abuse case sparking outrage in the community and calls for DCFS to be held accountable.

RELATED: Andrew Freund, the father of AJ Freund, could reach plea deal this week in murder of Crystal Lake boy

Andrew Freund, who is charged with murdering his 5-year-old son AJ in Crysal Lake, appeared in court Wednesday.

"They failed him," said Rosa Mallette. "No ifs ands or buts about that. He should have been removed from the home."

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

A former DCFS worker who has been charged with child endangerment in the AJ Freund case entered a not guilty plea in court Thursday.

AJ's mother, JoAnn Cunningham, pleaded guilty last December to the Crystal Lake boy's murder. In July, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

His father, Andrew Freund, has also been charged. He is due in court on Friday and his attorneys said they are negotiating a plea deal.