Lawsuit: Boy was abused for 2 years prior to murder

Family of 5-year-old Eain Brooks suing Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The grandmother of Eain Brooks, a 5-year-old boy who was sodomized and murdered by his mother’s boyfriend, has filed a lawsuit against Erie County and his killer.

Robin Hart, who is administrator of her grandson’s estate, is suing the county on claims that Eain was abused for two years prior to his death and that Child Protective Services dismissed those abuse accusations as “unsubstantiated.”

Matthew Kuzdzal is also named in the lawsuit. After sodomizing Eain on September 15, 2013, Kuzdzal violently shoved him into a bathtub, fracturing the boy’s skull. Eain died two days later at Women and Children’s Hospital.

Kuzdzal was convicted last year of killing Eain and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

The lawsuit filed by Daniel Chiacchia details the multiple reports to CPS about Eain’s abuse for two years prior to his murder, including reports made by the staff at Gateway-Longview. It alleges Kuzdzal was responsible for this abuse but that the county did nothing to put an end to it.

Following Eain’s murder, two caseworkers were fired. Since then, Child Protective Services has hired 37 new employees.

The former head of Social Services was not renewed for a new term. And though the county executive originally moved to appoint her to the head of the Mental Health department, that appointment was withdrawn following outrage by Erie County legislators.

Below are all of the reports given to Child Protective Services prior to Eain’s murder:

  • November 21, 2011 – Report of inadequate guardianship due to a registered sex offender living in Eain’s home.
  • December 6, 2011 - Report of inadequate guardianship because Eain had been picked up by the neck, causing pain.

These reports were consolidated and found to be “unsubstantiated.” The report was closed on January 5, 2012.

  • March 12, 2012 – Gateway-Longview reports Eain was hit with a belt and smelled of marijuana. Report was not accepted because there were no signs of “excessive force.”
  • December 10, 2012 – report that Eain had cuts, bruises and welts, as well as inadequate guardianship. Found to be “unsubstantiated.” Report was closed on February 14, 2013.

 

  • February 11, 2013 – Staff at Gateway-Longview allege Eain suffered burns and scalding, as well as inadequate guardianship, because of a large burn on his face.
  • March 2, 2013 – Staff at Gateway-Longview make second report alleging Eain suffered cuts, bruises and welts, as well as inadequate guardianship.
  • March 3, 2013 – Staff at Gateway-Longview make third report with same claims.
  • March 6, 2013 – Staff at Gateway-Longview make a duplicate report, noting Eain had two black eyes.

The four reports above were consolidated with the report from February 11, 2013 and closed on March 13, 2013 after being found to be “unsubstantiated.”

  • July 26, 2013 – Staff at Gateway-Longview make report alleging Eain suffered cuts, bruises and welts, as well as inadequate guardianship. Eain had a black eye, which his mother claimed was caused by another student, but staff said the injury did not occur in the school or on the bus ride home.
  • August 12, 2013 – Two reports were made by the staff at Gateway-Longview, one alleging swelling, dislocation, sprains, lack of supervision, parents drug and alcohol use and inadequate guardianship. The other alleged swelling, dislocation, sprains, cuts, bruises, welts and inadequate guardianship.

All three reports were consolidated into the July 26, 2013 report and found to be “unsubstantiated.” The report was closed on August 20, 2013.

Eain would be murdered by Kuzdzal less than a month later.

The lawsuit alleges that the county’s staff failed to take appropriate actions or precautions, failed to remove Eain from the environment, and failed to protect Eain from physical and sexual abuse and death.

It also states the county failed to train staff properly, failed to have enough people employed to handle abuse claims, failed to supervise its staff properly, and hired and retained inexperienced personnel.

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