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Settlement of death of 17-month-old Semaj Crosby found under sofa in Joliet Township

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CHICAGO (SCS) — Five years after Semaj Crosby, 17 months was found impaled under a couch in the township of Joliet, a settlement was reached with the co-tractor of the Ministry of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

No one was ever charged with her murder, but after the body of 17-month-old Semaj Crosby was found in a home in Joliet Township, a civil lawsuit was settled for $6.5 million.

The lawsuit blamed Children’s Home and Aid, a contractor for the Department of Children and Family Services, for failing to protect Semaj and for failing to remove her from her mother’s home, which was in unsanitary conditions.

Crosby died in June 2017 was labeled as a suspectbut officials said they still don’t know what or who was behind his death.

Semaj Crosby was reported missing by her family, but her body was found just over a day later in the house. A house where she lived with a few relatives and which the police describe as a number of squatters.

Will County Deputy Sheriff Chief Rick Ackerson said it would be nice to take a break from the case.

Ackerson said some witnesses were re-examined, but that didn’t lead to any new information. He also said autopsy results were not available. Normally, Ackerson said, autopsy results are back in four to six weeks, but he said in cases like this it could take months.

Chicago attorney Jay Paul Deratany released a statement on the settlement:

After five years of litigation and far too many years that this family has endured, I am happy to report that we have settled the case for $6,450,000. No amount of money can bring Sema’j Crosby back, but we hope organizations like Children’s Home & Aid, along with other Illinois Department of Child and Family Services contractors , will meet their contractual obligations to provide the best possible care for children. There was no reason for Sema’j to die, and the money that will go to his siblings will never ease the pain.

We also believe that DCFS should have greater control over its contractors, and therefore we will continue to pursue a Court of Claims action against DCFS.

Nevertheless, we certainly hope that Children’s Home & Aid moves forward, learns from its mistakes and provides better training for its employees and better supervision of the children in their care. As one of the supervisors admitted, they were taking on too many cases and being overworked, and that’s a problem. DCFS should monitor the number of cases it hands over to a private organization. And, the private organization should not accept cases unless they can provide ALL services and comply with ALL DCFS regulations. We can only hope that more cases like that of Sema’j Crosby do not happen again in the future.

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