Riverside County Investigation Lacks Access to Records

Child Playing Hopscotch

A probate court hearing on Feb. 24 revealed that the Larson team investigating the Riverside County departments associated with the services provided to the 13 Turpin children has not been allowed access to some records “at the heart of the case,” ABC News reported.

Partners Stephen G. Larson and Hilary Potashner were hired to investigate the County in October 2021 after the preview of an ABC “20/20” special, which aired in November 2021, shed light on allegations that the 13 Turpin children who were rescued from their abusive home in 2018 endured further mistreatment under the County’s care. At the time of the announcement, the findings of the investigation were said to be ready in March 2022.

However, months into their investigation and one month from that deadline, the Larson team has not been able to review many of the records they sought “due to confidentiality rules,” ABC News detailed, and the parties present at the probate court hearing “grappled with balancing the need for information with the Turpins’ privacy.”

“We would very much like to be able to assess and evaluate these records in terms of the care to the Turpin family,” Hilary stated. “The assertions are serious and important to be reviewed.”

When the Turpins were rescued, their identities were kept secret to protect them from the media. “At issue now is the strict confidentiality order shielding documents in the adult children’s cases,” the ABC News article explained. “None of the parties involved in the case are opposing that the records be turned over to investigators, where they would remain confidentialbut the firm representing some of the adult children in the case are asking a protective order to be put in place to prevent the documents from becoming public.”

One of the attorneys representing some of the adult Turpin children told ABC News, “Our concern would be although we think that the investigator appointed by the county should have access to everything, that there should be no risk that by the investigator getting it, it becomes public record and accessible to the public.”

Furthermore, Hilary noted in the hearing, Larson has also not been able to access the minor children’s records needed for the investigation.

Read the full article by Olivia Rubin and Josh Margolin of ABC News covering the hearing here.


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