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D.C. youth agency transfers teen who sought to report ‘terrible things’
Mother considering legal action
Ebony McCombs expected to see her son one last time before he was transferred from the District’s youth rehabilitation agency. But when he asked to speak with police about things Perry C. White had told him, all that changed.
Mr. White, 18, also a ward at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, recently told DYRS staff and others that he shot the agency’s veteran administrator, Jeffrey Earl McInnis, in March 2011, citing “terrible things” done to him as his motive, according to internal DYRS documents. Mr. White’s claim prompted a report to the Child Family Services Agency, which union officials said usually results in staff being placed on administrative leave pending investigation.
Now, the District’s handling of the matter has angered the mother of a child who says her family’s rights have been violated because her son tried to report to authorities what Mr. White told him about the March 2011 incident.
DYRS had been in the process of transferring her son, who is 17 and charged with second-degree murder, out of state, Mrs. McCombs said, but he wasn’t supposed to leave for another two weeks. She said a judge told her she would be afforded “special visitation” rights before he was transferred.
She did not get her visit, and said her son’s caseworker was not informed of the sudden transfer last month until after he was on his way to a facility in Detroit.
Mrs. McCombs has hired an attorney and is considering legal action, she said.
Mr. McInnis was a highly regarded superintendent of DYRS‘ 88-bed secure facility for youths accused of crimes. Last year, The Washington Times reported that he was shot in the early hours of March 20, 2011. DYRS Director Neil Stanley failed to report the incident to employees until he was questioned by a reporter nine days later.
A short time later, The Times reported on a restraining order obtained in 2010 by Mr. McInnis‘ wife, who alleged violent threats by him. Phyllis McInnis recanted her allegations after a news story was in progress, and she sought to rescind the court order. She declined to comment, and Mr. McInnis did not return calls for comment.
Soon thereafter, Mr. McInnis was shifted from “chief of detained services” to a “transportation and facilities” position at a 60-bed secure DYRS facility for committed youths in Laurel, but agency sources indicated that he did not receive a salary cut. DYRS officials refused to explain the move or answer questions for this article.
While questions about Mr. McInnis linger, other city officials are struggling to explain a dubious chain of events.
For instance, the call to the Child Family Services Agency that followed Mr. White’s claim prompted Metropolitan Police Department Cmdr. George Kucik of the Criminal Investigations Division to contact the caller, DYRS documents state. Cmdr. Kucik suggested that a former DYRS police-liaison who is now a community outreach specialist investigate the matter. The caller objected, the documents state, because the liaison had been involved with Mr. White as a DYRS ward.
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