The I-TEAM obtained security video from a checkpoint in the Cuyahoga County juvenile court. One morning last month, multiple sources say a court worker took a teen up to a hearing even after that teen had been turned away by medical screeners due to COVID-19 concerns.
A statement later given by one court official said the worker “told the medical staff the youth was lying.” And, “then directed medical staff to provide him with a wristband so he could go to the courtroom.”
That bothers a union leader for many Juvenile Court workers.
“This scares me, but doesn’t surprise me,” said Colin Sikon with Laborers Local 860.
He added, “I find it dangerous the court feels they can bypass safety precautions put in place by the CDC and the Department of Health on the hunch someone is lying.”
The court set up medical screening to limit the chance of someone coming in and spreading COVID-19. But after this, we’ve learned some workers called bosses and even went home since they did not feel safe and worried about potential risk.
The I-TEAM wanted to talk to the administrative judge at the juvenile justice center and the worker directly involved in this incident. Through a spokesperson, the court denied those requests. The court also says after this incident, no disciplinary action was taken.
The court tells us if someone passes through possibly infected with COVID-19, crews sanitize the lobby and elevators and other areas. But Timikka Jarmon wonders if that’s enough. We shared what happened with her as she was going into the building.
“If someone is accused of lying, that’s not taking the threat of the COVID-19 situation seriously,” she said.
Yet, we also found after this scare, the court did not put out any new policies or directives to make sure it does not happen again.
Recently, the I-TEAM also revealed a COVID-19 scam at the Cuyahoga County adult court. A wanted man tried to avoid facing a judge by claiming he’d been turned away at a COVID-screening desk. The court found, in fact, he had never gone there. He later wrote a letter of apology to the sheriff.
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