September 28, 2020
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CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — Two former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services employees who investigated abuse allegations involving 5-year-old AJ Freund have been charged with child endangerment.

Carlos Acosta, an elected McHenry County board member from Woodstock, and his former supervisor, Andrew Polovin of Island Lake, were arrested Thursday on two counts each of endangering the life of a child and one count of reckless conduct, the McHenry County sheriff’s office announced.

Acosta, 54, and Polovin, 48, were released later Thursday from the McHenry County Jail after posting bond.

The men left DCFS in December following Freund’s death.

Back in Dec. 2018, Acosta investigated a call to the DCFS hotline from Crystal Lake police. The call was about a bruise on Freund’s hip.

Tracy Kotzman, who started the group “Roar for AJ,”said Acosta allegedly thought Freund was a liar after AJ reportedly told conflicting stories about the bruise.

“My takeaway was he basically said AJ was a liar and that he changed his story five times ,” Kotzman said.

About two weeks later, Acosta and Polovin closed the case.

“He told me he did his job and nothing less i think the fact charges are brought and he’s been arrested, there’s evidence you did less,” Kotzman said.

Fruend died in April of 2019 after being tortured and beaten by his parents, Andrew Freund Sr. and Joann Cunningham, who then buried his body and told police he was missing.

Freund Sr. and Cunningham were charged with first-degree murder in his beating death. 

Cunningham, 37, was sentenced to 35 years in the murder of her son. The judge said she will have to serve 100% of her sentence. Afterward, she will need to serve an additional three years of mandatory supervised released.

Freund Sr., 60, is awaiting trial.

Acosta and Polovin were also named in a federal lawsuit by Fruend’s estate. The lawsuit alleges their investigation was a sham.

“These two DCFS employees who were supposed to help him ignored every red flag even ignoring reports of abuse from the local police, medical professionals and AJ’s neighbors,” part of it reads.

There is no word yet on when Acosta and Polovin are due in court next. When asked why it took so long for charges to be brought against them, the state’s attorney’s office said that’s how long it took to gather and sift through documents.