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Federal Investigators May Have Their Eyes On Cherokee County’s Document Shredding

Picture of the Cherokee County courthouse
Frank Taylor
Carolina Public Press
The Cherokee County Courthouse in Murphy, where in 2018 Judge Tessa Sellers ruled that the seizure of children without judicial approval was unconstitutional. A state criminal probe and federal civil suit are underway.

For more than a decade, Cherokee County Department of Social Services (DSS) workerstook children from their parents with no judicial oversight, using a fraudulent document called a Custody and Visitation Agreement, or CVA.

Lawyers think there could be more than 100 cases where children were incorrectly taken from their parents. North Carolina law enforcement agencies have been investigating the actions of the DSS for over a year. Now reporting from Carolina Public Press reveals that the DSS may be capturing the attention of the U.S. Attorney’s office. Host Frank Stasio talks to CPP lead investigative reporter Kate Martin about her reporting on increased document shredding in the Cherokee County DSS office and what evidence points to a possible federal investigation.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.