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Former worker's DCF cases reviewed

Published Sep. 29, 2005

No other problems have been uncovered so far in the cases worked by the Inverness investigator who resigned after admitting to falsifying a record in the wake of a child's death.

So far, the Department of Children and Families has found no problems when reviewing the child-protection cases once assigned to Carol Pratt, the Inverness investigator who resigned last month after she admitted lying and falsifying a record.

"They (staffers) are moving ahead on it (the review)," said Janice Johnson, the District 13 operations and program manager.

Pratt resigned July 19 after admitting she falsified an investigative report, according to records and interviews. Specifically, Pratt claimed that a law officer accompanied her when she visited Melissa Hunt to investigate a neglect complaint.

In fact, no law officer went with Pratt, even though office policy required her to make such arrangements.

Melissa, 5, died July 14 _ the day after Pratt's visit _ when one or more pet pit bullterriers mauled her outside her home, authorities have said.

Pratt continued to lie about the law officer when her supervisors reviewed the report after Melissa's death. She eventually came clean and resigned.

Johnson said that, because of Pratt's conduct, the department had to review her other cases to ensure they were handled properly.

Meanwhile, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate Melissa's death. Spokeswoman Gail Tierney said officials await the results of laboratory tests designed to determine the contents of the dogs' stomachs.