Worker Convicted of Perjury in Case of Runaway

A social services caseworker in Indiana has been convicted of lying to a judge about placing a runaway girl in a shelter without getting the judge’s permission.

Gayle Edelen, a supervisor at the Gibson County Department of Child Services, was found guilty this month on three counts of perjury and one count of official misconduct in a case involving a 17-year-old runaway, according to news reports.

The case began in 2008, when the girl ran away from Life Choices Maternity Home in Evansville, Ind. Edelen, assigned to the teen’s case when the girl’s original caseworker went on leave, reported the incident to Judge Jeffrey Meade of the Gibson Circuit Court, who ordered that he be notified when the girl was found.

The girl was found and sent to the Southwest Indiana Youth Village shelter – but Edelen failed to get permission from the judge. When the judge found out she was in the shelter, Edelen claimed under oath that she had told him and several others, including the girl’s attorney, according to the Princeton Daily Clarion.

The judge said he never received such a request, and the girl’s attorney said she wasn’t told, either, and that she learned of the girl’s stay at the shelter only when speaking with the girl nearly a month after her admittance there.

The conflicting accounts led to this month’s jury trial before a different judge.  

Edelen’s sentencing is scheduled for July 1. All counts are class D felonies, each of which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

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