PITTSBURGH — A shocking Target 11 Investigation into alleged failures of the judicial and social services systems has now prompted a police investigation.
A 9-year-old girl was allegedly molested and raped by her foster father for years. He’s accused of getting her pregnant at the age of 14.
But Target 11 discovered he was never charged with the crime. What happened to this case? How did it fall through the cracks?
Channel 11 typically does not identify victims of rape, but this woman came to us to tell her story.
Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle spent months digging into this case, tracking down leads and putting all of the pieces together.
Earle’s reporting has now led to a criminal investigation into the alleged repeated sexual assaults of a child nearly three decades ago.
“She was my best friend and for her to be murdered like that, that was personal,” said Carlina Freeman during a recent interview about the unsolved murder of her 15-year-old sister in 1992.
Earle met Carlina Freeman to talk about the unsolved murder of her 15-year-old sister, Jessica, in 1992. Channel 11 shared that story earlier this week on the 11 o’clock news.
But during Earle’s interview with Carlina, she told him something else, something just as shocking.
“I started getting molested at nine,” said Freeman, who began telling us a horrific story of her life in foster care.
“This is what’s been hurting me. This is what’s been haunting me,” said Freeman.
With her father out of the picture and her mother’s failing health, Carlina and her two siblings went into the foster care system.
Carlina went to East McKeesport to live with family friends. She said they would eventually become her foster family. But at the age of nine, Freeman said her foster father began molesting her.
“I’m thinking everything is fine. This is supposed to happen. This is supposed to (be) what’s going on. But in my gut as a nine-year-old child, as it was happening, it was like should I get up, should I scream, should I move, should I, but I couldn’t because just imagine a 270 pound man over a young girl,” said Freeman.
The sexual abuse, she said, continued and five years later, she was pregnant.
Pregnant at 14, Freeman said she was repeatedly threatened by her foster father not to tell anyone.
“You tell, I’m going to hurt you. You tell, I’m going to kill you. He threatened me multiple times when I told my foster mom. She said I was trying to devour their marriage,” said Freeman.
Freeman told Earle that she then made up a story and told her caseworker with Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families that a mentally challenged boy also living in this home in McKeesport with her got her pregnant.
She later admitted it was a lie, but she said she would not tell anyone what really happened.
“They thought I was acting out because of my mom passing away, my sister being murdered, but no nobody understood. It went on for six years,” said Freeman.
After giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Carlina said she was returned to the same foster family. She said the sexual assaults continued until she eventually left the home at 17.
“After we had the DNA, she (the CYF caseworker) said tell me who it is? I said it’s Carl and she said oh my God. She resigned not even a week or two after,” said Freeman.
A paternity test in 1998 confirmed that her foster father was indeed the biological father. A year later an Allegheny County Family Court Judge issued an order.
“After hearing, based on defendant’s acknowlegment (sic) on the record, defendant is found to be the father,” wrote the Judge.
According to court records also obtained by Target 11, the foster father was ordered to pay child support. But Carlina told Target 11 he was never arrested or charged with any crimes, including statutory rape.
“He never went to jail. No charges. All I know is that Carl and Matilda were telling my nephew that there were people looking for them. That’s why they left Pennsylvania. I don’t know how true it is,” said Freeman.
Target 11 reached out to current and former members of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s department, the District Attorney’s office and Allegheny County Police. No one remembered the case. Target 11 could find no evidence of any investigation or any outstanding warrants for the foster parents.
Target 11 also reached out to Allegheny County CYF and they sent an email declining to comment stating they are prohibited by Pennsylvania’s confidentiality laws.
Earle also spoke with a representative of the court system and he said it appears the Judge who signed the order didn’t actually hear the case, but signed off because all parties were in agreement. He said that’s standard operating procedure in certain cases such as this.
After multiple inquiries made by Target 11 to multiple agencies, Allegheny County Police launched a criminal investigation into the rape and sexual assault allegations.
They recently interviewed Freeman for several hours.
She didn’t mince words when asked what she wants to see happen in this case.
“I want to see them in jail. I want to be able to face them. and let them know you wasn’t going to keep me quiet, “said Freeman, who also wants to know why her foster father wasn’t arrested years ago after the paternity test and the court order acknowledging he was the biological father of her child.
Sources tell Target 11 it’s unclear what happened. How did this case fall through the cracks? Why did no one notice the age difference?
The sources said it appears to be a failure of both the courts and CYF.
“I want justice for what CYF did to me you understand what I’m saying. CYS, no you’re not going to get away with that, when I’ve been calling even from the age of 18. From 18 till now, it took you guys to push, to push and no I want what I needed back then. Nobody would listen. They would say well where’s the evidence that he’s the father. Couldn’t get nothing, I don’t know if it was because of you all because they told me them papers was never there,” said Freeman.
The statute of limitations for this alleged crime does not apply in this case because Freeman is only 41.
Police have until her fiftieth birthday to file charges. Police said this case is progressing and they hope to bring it to a close very soon.
Cox Media Group