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Thursday, February 23, 2017


It would seem as though the mandated reporting statutes for instances of abuse are not being taken seriously. It would also seem that there is very little accountability for those mandated reporters who fail to live up to their responsibilities.

The Office of the Child Advocate recently released a scathing report into actions of mandated reporters at the Hartford Schools  who apparently have overlooked or ignored as many as 69 documented cases of abuse involving children.

Unfortunately it doesn't begin or even end with Hartford's Schools. Recently a 17 year old male was taken to Hartford hospital suffering from malnutrition and apparent physical abuse.  The 17 year old, Matthew Tirado recently died at Hartford Hospital , suffering from malnutrition, broken bones and bruises. Matthew weighed a mere 84 pounds at the time of his death.

Now getting back to the mandated reporters. Although most people just reading this now  might be a little suspicious and come to the conclusion that the young man was being abused based upon his physical condition, the first notification to HPD was made after the body was received by the Office of the Chief Medial Examiner.

Apparently no report was ever made by medical staff attempting to treat Tirado.

According to law enforcement sources familiar with the case, no one from Hartford Hospital notified authorities of what was clearly a case of apparent abuse. Just on the condition of the body as it appeared to the OCME, even before an autopsy or further testing, apparently the notification to HPD of possible abuse was made. Tirado's mother was arrested and charged with Cruelty to persons, a felony. Those charges may be elevated when the OCME's final report is issued.

Dr. Susan Williams, the Associate Medical Examiner who did the physical report stated  that the teenager had three broken ribs, bruises over his upper body, an injury to his back, and bed sores on his buttocks. Now I will give a pass to hospital staff, as mandated reporters, that they might not have seen the broken ribs without x-rays, but everything else seems pretty obvious to raise the suspicions of medical professionals, especially the malnutrition and the bruising.

I am not sure we would overlook this lack of reporting if it was a Police Officer who turned  a blind eye to a victim of abuse , so why should we ignore it when others fail in their responsibilities? Whether it is a teacher, a principal, a doctor or a nurse, they need to do their jobs and do what is required of them under the law.

These statutes are in place to protect and advocate for some of the most vulnerable in our society, including children, seniors and domestic violence victims, there needs to be more accountability and penalties for those that fail to do their jobs as mandated reporters

It is a little too late for Matthew Tirado and other victims when the Medical Examiner fulfills their responsibility as a mandated reporter.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The "For Sale" signs will be going up on Hartford's Dunkin Donuts Park soon,  if one Hartford City Councilman has his way.

On the agenda for Monday's night Council meeting is a resolution by Councilman Larry Deutsch to instruct Mayor Bronin to put the  park up for sale, with a  6% profit.

Deutsch's resolution reads:

(COUNCILMAN DEUTSCH) Resolution requesting the administration to advertise and put up for sale Dunkin Donuts Park for the price of total development cost plus 6% as soon as possible giving the current “corporate consortium” including Dunkin Donuts, Aetna, Travelers, Yard Goats ownership, Bear’s Barbecue, Hooker Brewery, etc. the right of first refusal. 

I think the Councilman left out the "low mileage" part and "never been used". I am sure there have been many days when Mayor Bronin had wished there was a way to dump the stadium, but somehow I think the bondholders who financed the project may have some ideas different than Councilman Deutsch, not to mention the legal aspects and I would imagine the Solomon's would have some legal claims also if the stadium were to be sold out from under them. But then again maybe they could cut a deal with the new owners.

Councilman Deutsch, is it too late to add a friendly amendment?  I suggest "Successful bidder is also required  take I Charles Matthews and the Hartford Stadium authority as part of the deal"

And we wonder why the suburbs and the region won't take us seriously

Monday, February 20, 2017


I don't think I need to sit in front of my keyboard and defend the Hartford Police Department, but I do think I have an obligation to expose ignorant remarks and divisive behavior that undermines the relationships between our  Police Department and the community. Last week a resolution was introduced to the Hartford City Council by Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudes.

The resolution seemed to imply a conspiracy by Chief James Rovella, in conjunction with Mayor Bronin to dismantle and overthrow members of the Civilian Police Review Board. It appears, or was being insinuated, that this conspiracy was being orchestrated to cover up allegations of abuse  and findings from a June 4th incident . From what I know, that is the furthest thing from the truth.

One of the allegations is that "new video" had been uncovered from the incident. That is totally untrue  and reckless. The incident had been released to all of the media sometime in October. This video was part of the State Police investigation and despite the requests of Chief Rovella to obtain the video and release it to the public, Litchfield County States Attorney David Shepack refused Rovella's request.

During the investigation, Chief Rovella offered an invitation to community "leaders" for an opportunity for a briefing. I think  Chief Rovella called the meeting in part due to the lack of transparency and his desire to release the video that was being withheld by the Litchfield County States Attorney and the Connecticut State Police. Sadly I think three or four of us took Rovella up on his invitation and no City Councilmembers or any members of the CPRB were in attendance.

During the month of January I was made aware by a source that HPD Internal investigators were focusing on a specific video clip from a West Hartford Police dash cam that showed several plainclothes police officers kicking a handcuffed suspect while he was on the ground. The investigators identified the plainclothes police officers as HPD officers.

At the January Public Compstat I asked Chief Rovella and Deputy Chief Foley about the video. Although they wouldn't comment on the ongoing IAD Investigation, Chief Foley said that the video had already been released to the media in October. Unfortunately it was during a period when I was hospitalized and I didn't receive it. Foley said he would get a copy of all of this discs with video for me, and true to his word, within a couple days I had probably 12 DVD's with all of the video from HPD dashcams, CSP dash cams and West Hartford PD's dash cams. The same video investigators used and was given to the media previously

Would a Chief involved in a conspiracy or a cover up do that? I doubt it, but it sounds good if you want to start a conspiracy theory to further your agenda, whatever that agenda may actually be.

It was hours and hours of watching very boring video, until I found the clip from the cruiser dash cam of Officer Iacovino from West Hartford. I was a little surprised when I found the clip in question and wondered why I hadn't seen it anywhere before. I think everyone was focused on the Spell video and didn't take the time to thoroughly review all of the discs. So it really wasn't "new" video that had been hidden away as part of some  grand cover-up scheme. And any Council person could have made the same request as I did to obtain a copy, if they were really interested in the truth

The allegations regarding the Civilian Police Review Board shakeup are pure nonsense. Any member of a Board or Commission that claims they are backlogged and can't meet because they don't have enough members to make a quorum, and haven't been vocal  about the problem , should be removed.
There are plenty of ways to get the message out  and force action, but to just sit back and live with bad conditions until you are threatened with replacement, is the height of incompetence and inexcusabe.

Any Board as important as the CPRB is to public trust in our Police Department ,would easily attract media Attention if Commission members dropped a dime to any TV station or media outlet. To sit on their hands and accept a backlog of cases and and lack of a quorum for months ,if not years, is disgusting and any Commissioner worth their weight should be ashamed in their lack of action. The public deserves better and so does our Police Department.

Another fact that seems to be conveniently overlooked is that Chief Rovella launched the initial investigation over his concerns after being made aware of the condition of the suspects in their arrest photos. People who usually are involved in a conspiracy and cover-up don't make the initial complaint to begin with.

It also should be made clear that Chief Rovella and Deputy Chief Foley have been extremely transparent when it comes to HPD.  Sometimes that transparency is almost nauseating when I start getting messages and "tweets" from Foley at 6:00am on a weekend, but it is transparency.

I mentioned ignorance a couple times at the beginning of this post. It may be a strong term, but there is no other word to describe not taking advantage of opportunities to educate yourself. Especially when you are going to go off and write less than accurate resolutions that you know nothing about. As part of HPD's transparency , there are numerous opportunities for self education, unless of course that doesn't fit in with your personal agenda or desire to actually be somewhat knowledgeable as to what you are talking about.

The Public Compstat sessions are a product of Rovella and Foley's efforts at transparency. It would be enlightening to anyone that wants to know more about their Police department to attend one. It would definitely be beneficial to a CouncilPerson to maybe learn a little more  about what our Police Department does and what actually goes on  in Hartford .if they were to attend. To this date I don't ever recall seeing Councilwoman Bermudes at a Compstat meeting, athough I have seen Council President Clarke, Councilman Sanchez as well as Councilwoman Jennings there. I have never seen the Chairman or Vice Chair of the CPRB there either.

The next Public Compstat is this Thursday at 5:30PM at HPD Headquarters  at 253 High Street. They are not intimidating, there is no need to sign in or even identify yourself. Just go to the front desk , tell them you are there for Compstat and someone will give you directions to the elevator and the 2nd floor Compstat meeting room. Questions and input are welcomed during the meeting and a lot of valuable information is shared and you can also talk to police officers and Command staff before and after the meetings.

To view my previous posting and the related videos to the incident, click here

On February 18th, HPD issued the following statement:

Council Person Bermudez is correct, the Police Department should not have any say on who sits on the Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB). Yet we have the right to say when CPRB is non-existent and failing the city. We realize how important effective and relevant oversight is to our community. But when CPRB is asleep at the switch for far too long, not paying attention to what is happening and then drags the police department into their political squabble to save their jobs- yes we respond. I believe Councilperson Bermudez was notified of the CPRB replacements well before they asked for the names of the officers. I believe she has the emails to prove it.

My full statement is below:
To effectively and actively lead the external oversight of the Police Department, the Civilian Police Review Board must take great care and effort to examine and understand circumstances, practices and facts. Many things in the resolution put forth last night are just incorrect. The resolution itself and some of the things said last night are likely reflective of the lack of effort and knowledge of the current CPRB.
External, independent oversight of the Hartford Police Department is critical to us and the Hartford community. That oversight has been non-existent. It’s unfortunate that only now they, the CPRB, have come to life, using the West Hartford incident as a political bargaining chip to save their positions. Oversight must be based on fact, not politics. Their lack of knowledge in the process and this ongoing investigation demonstrates a clear need for new effective and active oversight of the Police Department. We welcome and support external oversight.
We also share the same transparency goals as the CPRB. We have consistently been a leading police department in transparency and outreach. We have demonstrated this on many levels and on many occasions, including the handling of sensitive ‘use of Force’ incidents in our city. This resolution put forth is centered on the discovery of “new video”. The fact that the CPRB is claiming they have “new video” is insulting, embarrassing to them, and again demonstrative of their lack of involvement and effort. We put out all the video we had, (including the referenced “new video”) months ago, to every media outlet, the day after we received it. This “new video” was released to community members and media on October 5th, 2016. We made copies and provided DVD’s to anyone who asked, for free. From the moment we received it, this “new video” has always been and will be a part of our internal investigation. This “new video” has been and will be a part of the ongoing external criminal investigation.
Again, this West Hartford incident involving Hartford Police Officers was investigated outside of our jurisdiction. It occurred outside of Hartford and was investigated and is being prosecuted in another part of our State. The transparency of that external criminal investigation was not consistent with our own transparency practices. It should be noted that we initiated the investigation, on our own, hours after the incident occurred.
Separate from the ongoing criminal investigation, we also have an ongoing internal administrative investigation. We again are committed to making this internal investigation public upon its completion. We have also cooperated with the Civilian Police Review Board as it relates to this investigation. We give them everything they ask for and more in a timely manner.
The City of Hartford Civilian Police Review Board is external and separate to the Police Department, as it should be. We the Hartford Police Department, as well as the community, rely heavily on the active critical oversight provided by the CPRB. Regardless of who sits on the board, we will continue to cooperate with them completely, as required. We look forward to working with a functioning, active CPRB.
Deputy Chief Brian J. Foley


It is very rare that I post someone else's writing here, but this posting is from Dr. Aaron Lewis, who has been involved in this abuse incident from the beginning.

Dr. Lewis originally called me asking for help reporting this incident, at which time I contacted the Hartford Police Department through Deputy Chief Brian Foley and Chief Rovella. Immediately, Chief Rovella assigned investigators and within two hours, investigators were travelling to New York state , during a snowstorm, to interview the juvenile victim. At least someone took it seriously and moved quickly when the Hartford Schools and the Hartford Board of Education didn't.

Here is Dr. Lewis's posting;

There’s a war going on in Hartford’s Public School District. Several neighborhoods schools are slated to shut down despite persistent parental and community opposition. Governor Dannel Malloy must close a $1.7 billion budget deficit which will result in inevitable funding reductions to education. Malloy has proposed to reduce education aid to wealthier towns in a conscientious effort to redistribute those funds to needy urban school districts. This decision comes against the backdrop of an age old controversial conversation of whether the wealthier towns should fund poor urban districts even if its schools are consistently failing.
Even the most ardent supporters of the “redistribution of wealth formula” cannot deny that funding dysfunctional school models and funding persistently failing schools has created a fiscal nightmare that even the most skilled actuaries would have a difficult time finding a solution to. There simply aren’t enough students to meet the capacity requirements of the school buildings, yet more schools are slated to be built.  Charter schools, magnets schools, neighborhood schools all pull from the same funding sources, which is not only a failed initiative but has created a financial burden on the city, the state, and even the federal government. Yet we continue to do the same thing, expecting different results; Einstein’s formula for insanity.
In the middle of this mess, Dr. Beth Schivano Narvaez, Superintendent of the Hartford School district decides to abandon the ship in arguably the worst crisis in Hartford’s public school history to accept her “dream job” to lead a U.S. government education initiative in Korea and Japan. Her fellow board members, including the chair, Attorney Richard Wareing did not remind her of her inaugural and assuring promises that she vowed when she accepted the more than $250,000.00 annual position that she would faithfully serve the children and families of the City of Hartford. Instead, everyone gave her a well-wishing send off, during a bloody war in our school district. No one held her accountable.
On Friday, February 10, 2017, amidst these dire concerns, the Office of The Child Advocate for the State of Connecticut released a 76-page report of findings regarding compliance of Hartford Public Schools with State Laws Regarding Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect.  What did they find? They discovered that for more than a decade there has been compounded reports of neglect and abusive behavior toward Hartford’s children. This report was sparked by the tip from human rights activist and child advocate Dr. Aaron Lewis concerning alleged sexually implicit behavior between a high-ranking Hartford Public School administrator, Eduardo “Eddie” Genao who subsequently resigned and was arrested on a felony, Risk of Injury to a child for sending sexually explicit text messages to a 13-year-old child.
The recently appointed, since December 9, 2016 acting superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, has been given the challenge to respond to this report and these multiple abuses many of which began, while she was a college student at UCONN.  Dr. Torres-Rodriguez has fortuitously and continually stated that she will do all that she can to deal with this issue, even to the point of admonishing teachers and school staff that if they “see something” and fail to “say something” they will be held accountable. While, I believe wholeheartedly that Dr. Torres-Rodriguez has the best interest of Hartford’s children at heart, I also see a bloody yet familiar handwriting on these walls, one of which she may not be aware.
When this crime involving Genao was initially committed, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez was not the interim superintendent, and did not have any authority to reprimand high ranking employees. However, Rich Wareing, the board chair, a local attorney and partner at his firm, was fully aware of these allegations as he was given a tip 13 days before things turned criminal, yet chose not to respond or take any solid action to prove to Hartford’s constituents that the safety of the children was his primary concern.  Instead, Wareing deflected and abrogated his responsibility by ignoring the email, apologizing for not seeing the email, and then continuing to cover-up the then Superintendent and her appointed chief of staff, Dr. Gislaine Ngounou for their neglect.
The bloody trail continues. Now, “the system” has used a familiar tactic of shifting the blame from whom it squarely belongs to implicate bystanders, to once again cover up their decades-long crimes of child abuse. The system has chosen scapegoat, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez to lead this army as its Commander in Chief, in a bloody war that includes the teachers, the parents, and the ultimate casualties—the children. No one seems to ask the obvious question, why is Dr. Torres-Rodriguez responding to any of these concerns? She was unaware of these reports? When the United States House of Representatives held the Benghazi hearings, President Barack Obama didn’t speak to the matter at all. Secretary Hillary Clinton spoke to the matter as it was her responsibility as Secretary of State to answer for the lives of those lost. That is called accountability.
Neither the two-time board chair, or any board member until now has publicly said one word about the allegations concerning Eddie Genao. Yet, they’ve cleverly chosen Dr. Torres-Rodriguez to become the sacrificial lamb to cover decades of systemic corruption at the Hartford Board of Education, an evil yet clever move. As a scripted speaker, she continues to urge teachers and staff to “report, report, report.” Yet, it is crystal clear that proper reporting has never been the real issue at all. There is no lack in reporting incidents or even filing reports for that matter. If people weren’t reporting there would not be a 76-page report of findings from the OCA. So then, dozens if not hundreds of people are reporting. Dr. Aaron Lewis reported on Eddie Genao.
Watch what happened. Instead of the OCA commending him for stopping child abuse, they alluded that he should have reported sooner, even though the local authorities made it clear that had he reported it sooner, Mr. Genoa would have never been arrested as the evidence a mere 13 days earlier was insufficient to get a judge to approve a search warrant to provide enough evidence for an arrest and a possible conviction. This is a classic tale of “wag the dog.” What happened for more than a decade when reports of incessant abuse were filed? Why weren’t they dealt with? Why didn’t the public hear about these abuses until now? They were obviously written down and filed otherwise the OCA wouldn’t have been able to compile such a sickening report.
What happens when someone abuses or neglects a child? Protocol should be to inform the Department of Children and Families. Unfortunately, that is not the first response for HBOE employees. They choose to deal with all matters internally first as to cover it. It is reported, it reaches the legal department of which Attorney Jill Cutler Hodgman has direct oversight. Hodgman, who has been with the HBOE since 2002 and has been its Chief Labor and Legal Counsel since 2010 has the responsibility of reviewing all reports and issuing appropriate reprimands and consequences for suspect and illegal activity in Hartford Public Schools. In 15 years, under several different Superintendents of Schools Mrs. Hodgman has been the only consistent and permanent figure throughout all of these report of findings, yet no one has questioned her or investigated whether she had appropriately done her job.
No one questions the legal department, not the mayor, certainly not the board chair, or the board. So, consider this, if the corruption stemmed directly from years of illegal covering-up, possibly falsifying and destroying documents and reports from parents and teachers; who then could demand that Mrs. Hodgman and the entire legal department become accountable and truly transparent?  For the past decade and a half, that answer has been no one. The issue is not and has never been lack of reporting! People have been shouting from the rooftops for years. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez must understand that people have been reporting for 20 years or more. According to a Channel 3 News report, a former office secretary at Sports and Science Academy reported that Eddie Geneo was kissing a girl inappropriately and passionately. She was fired. Yet this same system bizarrely continues to encourage people to speak up.
Genoa’s defense concerning his passionate kissing technique was that he used the same technique on all young girls even his own daughters. Perhaps that made the situation better from the legal department’s perspective. When that report was filed, Genao wasn’t fired, but rather promoted by Superintendent Dr. Steven Adamoski. The secretary was fired for reporting and Genao was promoted. Understand, reporting wasn’t the issue. The issue was that the report was inappropriately handled, and swept under the carpet by legal, since the primary interest of the legal department and the board members is NOT the children as they tirelessly claim. Their interest and loyalty is clear—TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THEIR COLLEAGUES, of which, they do a remarkable job.
If HBOE legal didn’t want OCA to discover these horrific and repeated reports of child abuse, then they should have destroyed the evidence, which of course, would have be illegal. However, that would have made a bit more sense. It’s like a drug dealer who keeps meticulous records of every transaction yet denies that he sells drugs when confronted by the police. This is outrageous! The problem has gone on too long and this war has costed far too many lives. Instead of the board members taking a stand and confronting the evil actions of Mr. Wareing, they continue to meet twice monthly and act like everything is fine, despite witnessing a bloody field of abuse of Hartford students right in front of them.
Accountability is the issue at hand. No one is accountable yet central office uses “accountability” as the buzz word of choice to fool teachers and parents into believing that they care. When the incident with labeling special needs students with stickers happened at SAND school, did Mr. Wareing lose his Chair position? No. Did the then Superintendent Schivano-Narvaez lose her job? No. Did the board hold them accountable for their lack of leadership? No. Did Jill Cutler Hodgman warn the school of the high-stake risks to the district with regards to such discriminatory practices and violating civil rights? No. Why? Because accountability is a farce at the HBOE. It isn’t real. It’s an illusion, one that unassuming parents and teachers have gullibly believed for decades.
OCA report of findings determined Dr. Lewis who is a humanitarian, publisher, child advocate and spiritual leader and has never held a position with Hartford Board of Education, as a mandated reporter. Yet the same report does not charge any high-ranking Chief, Executive Director or Central Office Worker with the same mandate since they do not have direct access to children. This “lack of accountability” created the atmosphere and continues to create the environments conducive for repeated child abuses; sexually, psychologically, physically, and verbally. If the leaders are not mandated, then by virtue of their immunity from such mandates make them the easiest candidates to victimize the children, since they are insulated from indictable consequences. If in fact, they are not mandated to report by law then such a law is unjust in nature and ensures a continuous platform by which these abuses will continue to occur.
The Final Battle
Now the stage has been set for the final battle, one in which no one wins. This battle is the battle that Wareing and his political buddies are allowing to happen because it exempts him and his friends from personal and careful examination. The teachers in the district are not the problem! Yet the language being used in the local media makes it appear that in order to fix the problem in Hartford schools, we must make teachers more accountable. Teachers must snitch on fellow teachers. Students must tell when things are not right. This is another classic “wag the dog” approach to shifting the blame on the teacher, thus creating a hostile environment between teachers and parents while an entire conscious-less board goes free again, failing to address concerns that are crucial to the life of this school district.
In the spirt of the French physician and prophet Michel de Nostredame, widely known as Nostradamus, I predict that if someone does not exercise courage to end this battle ensuing between teacher and parents, and confront the corruption in central office, that that the City of Hartford, will suffer greatly and Mayor Bronin will not be able to contain the situation. Teachers are daily on the frontlines, and to disrespect, dishonor and disguise this problem as one that they produced is a lie and an insult to those who educate our children. To the cowards that hide during times of crisis, the school principals are not the problem either. While there have been incidences of principals who did not properly act in certain matters, as were teachers who improperly acted in certain matters, these incidences are NOT the norm but rather the exception.
The only “constant” that has endured for nearly two decades is the cover up, and the lack of accountability by people who were set in place to protect and serve our children. The Office of the Superintendent since the time of Dr. Schivano-Narvaez going back 10 years ago to the beginning of the OCA report, should be in question. Every board member serving during those superintendent tenures should be in question concerning their response or lack thereof to these findings. An entire legal department who has consistently ignored the hundreds of reports filed with them should not only be investigated but should be charged with neglectfulness and possibly criminally. That is accountability!
My Promise to You
Teachers I’m fighting on the sidelines for you. Principals keep doing what you do. School staff don’t be afraid to bond with the students in fear that you will be charged with inappropriate conduct. Continue to lead, to love, to mentor, and to challenge Hartford’s students to be and become all that they can be. If no one stands up and tells the truth, stop passing off responsibility, stop forcing Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez to speak to issues of which she doesn’t have proper understanding, and stop creating a war between teachers and parents—I predict that this will be the war that ends all wars—A Fight Where No One Wins.
Dr. Aaron Lewis, Ph.D.