Woman charged with striking children at social worker's request - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Woman charged with striking children at social worker's request sues police, state agency

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A woman who was charged with child abuse after she allegedly struck a state social worker’s two children with a belt – at the request of the social worker -- has filed a lawsuit against Louisville police and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, claiming malicious prosecution.

In the lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week, Jacqueline Lewis claims that despite a lack of evidence, Child Protective Services removed her foster children and Louisville Metro Police charged her with misdemeanor assault.

At trial in August, a cabinet officer testified that the investigation was "incomplete" and that no one took pictures of any alleged bruising, looked for the belt or spoke to any neighbors, according to the suit. In addition, the suit claims, the children were never seen by a doctor.

A Jefferson District Court jury acquitted Lewis after 24 minutes of deliberation, the suit alleges.

Court records confirm Lewis was found not guilty. 

Lewis also claims a Family Court case was dismissed against her in December.

Because of the charges, Lewis says in the suit she "lost two wonderful children from her home," where they had lived for four years.

A spokesman for the cabinet did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

LMPD does not comment on pending litigation.

Lewis also claims she "suffered the embarrassment of being arrested in front of her children and foster children and her neighbors," according to the lawsuit. Also, Lewis is unable to work as a substitute teacher for the Jefferson County school system, according to the suit.

Her arrest photo was used by the media and articles claimed she "harmed a child with cerebral palsy," causing "lasting harm to her good name," the suit says.

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and monetary damages of more than $500,000.

The state social worker who was charged, Sharra Blakemore, was not named in the lawsuit. Both women were charged with child abuse. It is unclear what happened to Blakemore's criminal case or if she is still working for the cabinet.

Investigators said that on July 16, 2015, Blakemore drove the two children to Lewis' home in the 4000 block of Plane Tree Drive, near Rangeland Road and Poplar Level Road. Officials say Blakemore instructed Lewis to hit the children, ages 10 and 12, multiple times using a belt. According to police records, the 12-year-old child has cerebral palsy. Lewis followed Blakemore's instructions and hit the children, according to police.

Both children "sustained multiple bruises from their hips to their knees," according to police reports.

Officials said a teacher at the children's day camp noticed the injuries and contacted authorities with Child Protective Services, who in turn called police.

At the time, authorities said Blakemore admitted she drove the children to Lewis' home, gave Lewis a belt and told Lewis to hit her two children. Police said Lewis admitted she hit the children.

At the time, Blakemore worked at the cabinet’s office in Hardin County, investigating child abuse.

Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved. 

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