Social Workers Deny Charges in Palmdale Boy's Death


Four former L.A. County social workers pleaded not guilty Monday to felony child abuse and records charges in connection with the torture death of an 8-year-old boy in Palmdale.

Gregory Merritt, Kevin Bom, Patricia Clement, and Stefanie Rodriguez were ordered to return to court in late April to begin setting dates for a trial.

The four were ordered held for trial last month after a preliminary hearing, in which a judge found there was enough evidence to show the group had ignored or minimized abuse reports in the months leading up to Fernandez's death in 2013.

Each could face up to 10 years in prison if they're convicted.

The boy's mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, are awaiting a separate trial on murder and torture charges.


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