By Richard Luthmann
HARTFORD, CT — Allegations have arisen surrounding Christopher Ambrose and his adopted Latino children, Mia Ambrose, 16, Matthew, 16, and Sawyer, 13. All three have run away from him and are living in New York.
He is trying to use the law to force them to return to his home.
Reports suggest that Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes might have overlooked the children’s claims.
Rijos vs Ambrose
Last month, DCF’s Commissioner Dorantes acted promptly when a DCF employee, Eliezer Rijos, faced accusations of sending inappropriate texts to a minor he was supervising.
“No child or youth should be subjected to or victimized by this type of behavior.”
Allegations of sexual abuse by wealthy Chris Ambrose against his children Mia and Sawyer have been ignored by Michelle Peterson, a DCF Supervisor, despite medical, clinical, and investigative evidence.
Past Echoes in Present
A similar scenario played out years ago at Penn State University. Joe Paterno, then the head football coach, faced criticism for not adequately addressing reports of misconduct by his assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was convicted in 2012 for the abuse of ten boys, receiving a sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison.
A former Penn State quarterback, Mike McQueary, had reported witnessing Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State locker room shower in 2001. Paterno informed Penn State officials but did not contact law enforcement. The revelations led to Paterno’s firing in 2011. He died a few months later.
Following this, several high-ranking officials at Penn State received jail sentences related to the case.
Drawing parallels with Paterno and Sandusky – the failure to take seriously, investigate or report credible allegations of abuse against Ambrose to law enforcement by DCF Commissioner Dorantes and DCF Supervisor Peterson might be tempting and help portend Dorantes’ future.
As the Ambrose story gathers national attention, Dorantes’ coming decisions and actions may be pivotal in shaping her legacy.
One thing is certain: When it came to the alleged sexting DCF worker Rijos, Commissioner Dorantes conducted an in-house investigation, confronted Rijos, fired him, referred the matter to police and cooperated with their efforts in his arrest.
She left no stone unturned including interviewing the girl, and almost everyone Rijos came in contact with during his 10 years with DCF.
Rijos allegedly sexted but is not accused of physically abusing the 15-year-old girl. Meanwhile, DCF failed to do a thorough investigation into one man, with substantial assets, Chistopher Ambrose, who was accused by his children of doing a lot more than sexting.
Richard Luthmann is a writer, editor, and investigative journalist.