October 9, 2002
Attorney General: No Basis for Investigation in Custody Case
Charlotte, NC—The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office says there is no evidence of criminal wrong-doing by the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) in connection with the custody case of Jack Stratton.
In a letter to Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist, Senior Deputy Attorney General James Coman says, “Nowhere does it appear that there is evidence of criminal wrong-doing by any of the named parties, nor is there any reasonable belief that a criminal investigation of any of the parties or any person associated with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services is warranted.”
The allegations were detailed in a letter from Alan Beal to the Attorney General’s Office identifying himself as a “victim of the system.” During recent public appearances at meetings of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Beal, Jay Gell and Jack Stratton have made unspecific and unsubstantiated allegations against DSS and some of its employees.
Beal’s letter to the Attorney General alleged corruption in the Mecklenburg County legal system, unethical and illegal conduct by a specific judge, and mistreatment by DSS. In addition to his own case, Beal named the Stratton case where the children were removed from the home and placed in foster care.
After reviewing the allegations, Coman says “…there is insufficient evidence to justify a criminal investigation and certainly no evidence that would rise to the level of believing that any person named by Alan Beal or the Stratton’s violated the criminal laws of the State of North Carolina. Accordingly, we do not plan to take any additional actions in this matter.”
County Manager Harry L. Jones Sr. said he was pleased with the findings.
“I’m gratified to have confirmation from the Attorney General’s Office that there is no evidence warranting a criminal investigation,” said Jones. “I hope this reassures the community that Mecklenburg County is operating within the law and with integrity in protecting children.”