After reading a confidential state report on Oswego County's handling of the Erin Maxwell case, Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann says Commissioner Fran Lanigan "won't be fired." Leemann hopes to get state permission to publicly release the report at a special Wednesday meeting of the Health and Human Services committee.
The alleged murder of Erin Maxwell was shocking enough, but many were just as shocked to hear that her living conditions were the subject of no less than three investigations by the Oswego County Department of Social Services. After an internal review found caseworkers followed proper procedures, many in Oswego County called for the firing of Social Services Commissioner Fran Lanigan.
The State Office of Children and Family Services has just issued its own report. Leemann will not discuss its specifics but says it did not provide a "reason" to fire Lanigan.
11 year old Erin Maxwell was found hanging by a rope in her home in Palermo. The house was described by State Police as deplorable, full of animals, garbage and feces. Investigators said Erin was often starved and locked in a caged in room. The girl's stepbrother, Alan Jones has been charged with her murder. Erin's parents, Lynn and Lindsey Maxwell face six counts each of endangering the welfare of a child.
Prior to the death, Oswego County child protective workers investigated three complaints about Erin's home environment, but allowed her to remain in the house. Jackie Siver filed the last complaint that was investigated in 2006. "I don't understand how it is that somebody could have seen what I saw...and be able to walk away from there and say this child is not being negatively impacted." Siver told Action News.