Child protective worker Jean LaCroix, 46, has been fired by Florida’s Department of Children & Families (DCF) for allegedly having sex with a teenage girl in foster care. LaCroix met the girl when he was assigned to her case for a month last fall, but court documents show the illegal sexual relationship lasted for months. NBC 6 Miami reports:
A search warrant affidavit spells out what LaCroix is accused of. The 17-year-old, who was in foster care, told authorities that she “engaged in consensual sexual intercourse on numerous occasions with her DCF case worker Jean LaCroix.”
“The victim advised that while in school she would call or text the subject and the subject would arrange to pick her up from school and take her to his residence where they would engage in consensual sexual intercourse,” the warrant said.
The same girl is also a victim of the foster care prostitution ring that has rocked Florida’s already troubled DCF. An official explained why LaCroix, whose name first came up when the prostitution ring was discovered, wasn’t immediately fired for his actions:
“We put him on administrative leave. We took away access to his case file and children that he might have had access to. We took his phone and before doing all of that contacted law enforcement,” said Esther Jacobo, the DCF regional supervisor. “We did not fire him immediately in part because law enforcement asked us not to fire him immediately so that they could conduct appropriate investigations and prosecute the case.”
Regardless, LaCroix’s punishment doesn’t change what this girl endured. Over the course of a few short months, the girl, identified only as M.D. to protect her identity as a minor, was recruited into a prostitution ring and given a case worker who stands accused of being a sexual predator. All of this happened while she was in the state’s care.
While maintaining that such unacceptable conduct from case workers is rare, DCF Secretary David Wilkins admitted that it’s an issue the department must correct:
“This investigator completely betrayed our trust, and unfortunately people will do bad things, but we have to insure things like this do not happen,” said Wilkins.
“Are there other investigators that are doing this? I’ve heard allegations, to be quite frank, that others that it has happened to, and when we hear about that type of thing that we will investigate it. Is it a widespread problem? No.”