Agency Founders Imprisoned for Death of Girl

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Nine employees of a Philadelphia social services agency have been sentenced in the case of a teenager with cerebral palsy who decayed to death in her apartment in 2006.

In handing down the latest sentences this month, District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell blamed the death of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly on “patronage, plain and simple,” citing the agency’s contract with the city.

Multiethnic Behavioral Health received a $1 million annual contract from Philadelphia in 2000 to provide services to especially needy families, even though it “had no experience whatever in dealing with ‘at risk’ children,” the judge wrote. After 10 months of supposed care from the company, Kelly was not enrolled in school or receiving medical care. She died of malnutrition in August 2006.

This month judge sentenced the two people who ran the company – Mickal Kamuvaka, 61, and Solomon Manamela, 52 – to 17½ years and 14 years, respectively, on numerous fraud convictions. The judge ruled that the agency falsified documents showing that its caseworkers visited homes when they had not. The agency had claimed that one of Kelly’s caseworkers visited 46 times, when she had visited only 10.

In all, four company employees were found guilty of fraud and obstruction charges in trials – including the girl’s caseworker, who was sentenced to 11 years – and five others pled guilty. Kamuvaka still faces manslaughter charges. The girls’ mother has been sentenced to 20- to 40-years for third-degree murder.

The judge also criticized the city for not carefully overseeing the contractor’s performance.