Rick Karlin reports:
Sixteen employees of the state Office of Children and Family Services have been suspended for allegedly snooping in confidential files relating to a co-worker.
The victim of the alleged snooping, Kristen Trapalis, was arrested in May and charged with possession of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child, but those charges were later dropped.
Ironically, Trapalis works as a child protective specialist for OCFS, and helped run a phone center that receives tips about people who may be abusing or maltreating children.
It wasn’t known if Trapalis was put on this list of suspected abusers, known as the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, following her arrest. She remains on suspension from the agency.
New York state has a controversial history of cases in which parents caught with even small amounts of marijuana have faced dire consequences, from landing on the abuse register to potentially losing custody of their children to child welfare officials.
The 16 OCFS workers who allegedly accessed the information may have simply wanted to know if their fellow employee had landed on the register after her arrest.
Read more in the Times Union.