130-plus unresolved child abuse cases uncovered in DA's office

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - News 2 has learned that the Davidson County District Attorney's Office is reviewing more than 130 unresolved child abuse cases that were not acted upon dating back at least 5 years.

District Attorney Glenn Funk told News 2 an assistant DA working in the office discovered 74 files of child sexual abuse cases that had been referred to them by the Child Protection Investigative Team but were never prosecuted or resolved.

DA Funk, who took office in September 2014, told News 2 the discovery came to his attention in mid-January. Many of the cases date back to 2010.

In March, an additional 60 child physical abuse cases that had not been acted upon were also discovered, also dating back at least 5 years.

"The danger here is that because we have not acted promptly that a child might have been left in a dangerous situation or potentially someone who is a child abuser may have gone out and victimized another child," Funk said.

Funk charged a team of five assistant district attorneys to review the cases to determine which ones can still be prosecuted. Those cases are being immediately submitted to the Davidson County Grand Jury.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the district attorney's office said the team members have identified as:

  • Katy Miller - Family Protection Unit team leader and veteran prosecutor
  • Stacy Miller - Juvenile court team leader and veteran prosecutor
  • Pam Anderson - Veteran prosecutor experienced in serious felonies
  • Robert Jones - Trial Attorney with over 35 years experience
  • Zoe Sams, Chad Butler and Alyssa Henning - Child abuse unit prosecutors

"I am committed to making sure that this never happens while I am the District Attorney and that all of these cases will be handled as promptly and as efficiently as possible," he said.

Funk also told News 2 his office has since established new protocols to deal with child abuse cases in the future.

"I am going to personally participate in making sure that nothing falls through the cracks because this will not happen on my watch," Funk said.

He added, "What I want to do today is be candid, open and transparent as to the magnitude of the problem to be able to explain what we are doing going forward to make sure that this problem will never happen again."

News 2 spoke to former Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson who spent 26 years in office and asked him how the cases could have been overlooked.

"My suspicion is that many of those cases are ones that were once referred to the office, it was determined they were not prosecutable. They didn't have the facts, people quit cooperating, things like that, but they simply weren't closed out in an official sense," Johnson told News 2.

The former DA went on to say that former Assistant District Attorney Brian Holmgren prosecuted more child abuse cases than anyone in the state.

"I think that it is a big jump to say there are cases that aren't prosecuted because he didn't get to them or didn't want to get to them. Brian's issue was being aggressive not being too passive," Johnson continued.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the District Attorney's office confirmed to News 2 that Holmgren was fired from his position this week but did not offer any further details.

The office is encouraging victims and families who many have questions regarding these cases to contact the DA's Victim/Witness Division at 615-862-5500, ext. 136.

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