ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A child protection supervisor with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office was fired Friday and is under criminal investigation for failing to report suspected child abuse.
Jayne Johnson, 56, is also being investigated for conducting unauthorized family evaluations and making improper recommendations to family court, the sheriff's office said.
Johnson agreed to assist Tina Burgess, a personal friend whose granddaughter was involved in a child custody dispute with her husband's ex-girlfriend, by conducting an evaluation of the children that supported the couple's case, the department said.
"Johnson, being a licensed clinical social worker and friend of Burgess, agreed and brought the three children to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Child Protection Investigation facility," the agency said. "While this was not a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office matter or investigation, Johnson who was in uniform, utilized the sheriff's office facility and sheriff's office resources to conduct psychosocial evaluations on each child."
After learning of alleged physical and drug abuse by the ex-girlfriend, Johnson prepared a report recommending custody to the couple.
Sheriff's office investigators was notified once the judge learned Johnson conducted an improper investigation, the department said.
"The investigation revealed that Johnson misused her position as a child protection investigator supervisor to conduct psychosocial evaluations on the children and she made recommendations to a circuit court judge to influence the outcome of a child custody dispute," the department said. "The investigation also revealed that 27-year veteran child protection investigator Johnson violated state law and committed a felony by failing to report suspected child abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child."
Child protection investigators are mandatory reporters of child abuse under state law.
The investigation is ongoing, the department said.
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