WATERBURY, CT: A 10-year veteran of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) worker, Eliezer Rijos, 40, was arrested on September 13 by CT state police following allegations of inappropriate texting with a 15-year-old girl under the department’s supervision.
State Police charged Rijos with Risk of Injury to a Child and Tampering with Physical Evidence – both felonies.
Rijos last communicated with the minor before September 11, 2022, when he deleted the texts from his DCF-issued phone and his personal phone, according to police.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the girl said she met Rijos when he supervised visits between her and her mother at the DCF office in Waterbury.
The Girl’s Story
In an interview with police, the warrant says the girl told investigators she met Rijos when he supervised visits between her and her mother at DCF in Waterbury and in virtual visits.
State police investigators examined the 15-year-old’s cellphone, finding some, but not all, the text messages she described.
Police did not recover any photos of Rijos on her cell phone.
He began texting her on July 25, 2022, after she hung up on her mother during a virtual visit.
Rijos texted, “wassup I was doing a visit at the office today, I thought your visits were on Mondays.”
Rijos then asked if she had a boyfriend. The girl replied yes.
He texted, “if you were my age, I would date you.”
In subsequent texts found on the girl’s phone, Rijos asked the teen if she would date him if he were younger.
The girl replied, “Strong maybe,” before adding that in addition to “the age thing,” she had an issue with Rijos having children.
She said Rijos was “flirty” by asking her to wear “more tight clothing” when she visited the DCF office.
In another text conversation, Rijos expressed his desire to grab the girl. She asked how he would do that with people in the DCF office. He said he would need to find a way to drive her to or from her office visit unless they were to “meet out during the day or something.”
He also texted, “Don’t worry, I won’t bite hard,” and “If u was about it, we would of had some quick fun.”
In August of 2022, the girl contacted Rijos, needing a ride to the DCF office to visit her mom.
Rijos texted, “don’t dress sexy please because them ima ask to bring you back home lol.”
She said Rijos told her to sit in the front seat with him but did not claim Rijos attempted to initiate physical contact.
In a discrepancy that may not be settled by available evidence, the girl told police that after Rijos asked her to text pictures and she sent them, hem in turn, sent nude photos and videos of himself performing a sex act.
The described photos were not found on her phone.
The warrant states the girl told police she would send Rijos pictures of herself when depressed but said she only did it for attention.
She eventually stopped replying to Rijos’ texts, but he persisted in trying to contact her.
Rijos’ Tells His Side to Police
After the State Police issued an arrest warrant, Rijos turned himself in. In an interview at Troop A barracks, Rijos admitted to exchanging text messages with the 15-year-old but could not remember their conversations.
He allowed detectives access to his phone, but no contact with the girl’s number was present.
Rijos admitted the girl sent him explicit, but not nude, photos but said they were unsolicited, aand denied that he sent any nude photos or videos of himself to her.
Rijos told detectives he was “just in it for the texting” and would never “push that boundary” by taking it physically.
He also said he never did anything similar with his other clients, the warrant states.
Rijos admitted he deleted all the messages because he knew “it was wrong.”
Rijos is free on $150,000 bond. His next appearance is October 24. He has not yet entered a plea.
Genesis of the Investigation
After the girl’s guardian turned over her phone, DCF officials confronted Rijos in August, asking him about communications with the girl. He claimed he did not remember,
DCF allegedly showed screenshots of texts.
DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said DCF fired Rijos that same day.
“We ensured the youth in question was safe and had access to supportive services,” she said. “The department promptly initiated an investigation, including interviewing other youth and families this former case aide has come into contact with during his employment.”
There have been no reports announced of any other children similarly contacted by Rijos.
“Our administration is built upon the public trust and will not tolerate any conduct resulting in a violation of that trust,” Commissioner Dorantes said.
Commissioner Dorantes Speaks
DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes joined the Department of Children and Families 30 years ago, as a social worker. She rose to be regional director before Governor Ned Lamont appointed her commissioner of the entire agency which employs 3,200, handles 108,000 calls reporting neglect and seeking assistance and has an average of 14,500 families that the Department are involved with on any given day.
Commissioner Dorantes said of Rijos’ conduct:
“I find this alleged behavior by this former employee to be egregious and reprehensible and should be addressed to the fullest extent of the law.”
Then she added, “No child or youth should be subjected to or victimized by this type of behavior.”
It remains unclear if Commissioner Dorantes meant no child as in any child in CT or just children that her employees directly abuse.
The Ambrose teens alleged far worse about her father, Chris Ambrose, to DCF workers, but DCF worked hard to discredit the teenagers in support of the alleged abuser.
Commissioner Dorantes might like to take a look at the first video in an anticipated series by TikToK star Robbie Harvey video.