October 14, 2002
COUNTY MANAGER ADDRESSES FALSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Charlotte, NC – County Manager Harry Jones presented information today from independent sources that exonerates the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) and its director from illegal or improper conduct.
Jones presented the information in response to allegations of misconduct against DSS regarding a recent high-profile child protection case. He also addressed recent criticism of DSS Director Richard “Jake” Jacobsen, based on a California Grand Jury report from 1991-92.
Jones shared information from two independent sources that have cleared the County's DSS from any wrongdoing in its handling of a child protection case. A few individuals made some highly publicized accusations that alleged illegal actions and improper conduct by DSS in the handling of this case. County officials are prohibited by federal and state law from disclosing specifics of any particular child protection case and therefore were unable to respond directly to the allegations.
Last week, however, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office and the state Division of Social Services in separate reviews of information have concluded that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or any mishandling of the case by DSS.
Jones also provided facts from a 1992-93 San Diego Grand Jury report and other sources that contradicted and condemned the 1991-92 Grand Jury report as biased and error-filled. The second Grand Jury report said that many of the conclusions in the 1991-92 report were not supported by credible evidence and based on false assumptions. The second report revealed no improprieties by Jacobsen in his role as director of the San Diego County Department of Social Services.
Jacobsen was unanimously appointed in January 1994 by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners to serve as Mecklenburg County’s DSS director. The Board and then-Mecklenburg County Manager Jerry Fox had full knowledge of the two Grand Jury reports during the appointment process.