Defense Attorneys Say DCFS Workers Assigned To AJ Freund Case Were Overworked

Defense attorneys intensively questioned an expert witness and argued the two DCFS workers accused of mishandling the AJ Freund investigations were overworked as the trial entered its third day.

Carlos J. Acosta, 57, of Woodstock, and Andrew R. Polovin, 51, of Island Lake, were both charged in September 2020 with two counts of endangering the life of a child causing death, a Class 3 felony, and one count of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony.

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A grand jury indictment charged Acosta, a DCFS child protection specialist, and Polovin, a DCFS child protection supervisor, with “not acting in good faith” within their official capacities.

The indictment said the two, in a “willful or wanton manner,” knowingly caused or permitted the life or health of Andrew Freund Jr. to be endangered and that was the proximate cause of the boy’s death.

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Freund Jr., who was five years old and resided in Crystal Lake, was murdered in 2019 by his mother, JoAnn Cunningham.

A joint trial for Acosta and Polovin, who both pleaded not guilty to their charges, began Monday morning.

The trial entered the third day Wednesday morning.

Carole Ruzicka, a retired DCFS administrator who is an expert witness called by prosecutors, began testifying Monday afternoon and all of Tuesday.

She continued testifying Wednesday and was cross-examined by defense attorneys, who were scolded several times by Lake County Judge George Strickland.

Strickland interrupted Acosta’s attorney Rebecca Lee at one point and said several of the questions she was asking Ruzicka were “far too general.”

“You’re going to need to ask a more specific question.

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