MIAMI (CBS4) -A blue ribbon panel will meet for the first time Friday to discuss one of the worst child abuse cases in South Florida history.

“There is evil here, tragedy, horrific tragedy,” said David Lawrence in reference to the Barahona case.

Lawrence, a children’s advocate and chairman of the Children’s Movement of Florida, is a member of the three person independent investigative panel that will hear testimony about what happened to the Barahona children.

“I met with the secretary of the Department of Children and Families just this morning in Tallahassee and I’m absolutely convinced that he wants to get to the bottom of this and find out what needs to be fixed and the rest of our committed as well,” said Lawrence.

Meantime, DCF investigator Andrea Fleary has been placed on administrative while her handling of the Barahona case is being looked into.

Records show she has been severely reprimanded in the past.

We first met her the day after Nubia Barahona was found dead.

Fleary received a report the children were being tortured four days before Nubia’s body was found, but she didn’t call police.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald uncovered these previous problems on the job.

Last year she was cited for “poor performance and negligence.” after her handling of a case involving a teenage girl who was repeatedly found naked in bed with her father.

In 2003, Fleary received a “final counseling notice.” when was accused of allowing kids she was supposed to be protecting to visit with a potentially dangerous relative.

“The best you can do in this human world is what specifically happened and how can we make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again,” said Lawrence.

He hopes to have a report ready by mid-march.


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