Child services worker gets plea deal after lying about parents to put 4 children in foster care 

Social services worker ‘lied in court to convince judge to remove four children from their parents she claimed took drugs’

  • Chelsie Gray, 30, allegedly lied 10 times in the court case of Iowa family in 2017
  • Social worker said she’d visited them each month, but it was found to be false
  • Gray told a judge at trial that school teachers said the four children exhibited troubling behavior at school but the educators later said that was untrue
  • The DHS worker allegedly gave false testimony about the results of a drug test and whether a mother had complied with terms of her probation
  • She left the department September 2018 and a judge later blasted the state for playing down the damage she caused when the children were put in foster care 
  • Gray entered the plea bargain last week and at her December 3 sentencing she is expected to get a deferred sentence  

Chelsie Gray, 30, allegedly lied about visiting a family, questioning school teachers, results of a drug test and whether a mother had complied with terms of her probation

A former children services worker who allegedly lied approximately 10 times before recommending four children were put in foster care, has struck a plea deal that could see her serve no time in prison and have a perjury charge struck off her record for good.

Chelsie Gray, 30, allegedly lied in a December 2017 court case about attending monthly visits with the family and gave false information about whether the mother had complied with the terms of her probation and had tested positive for drugs.

The Iowa Department of Human Services social worker also gave false testimony about the children’s teachers declaring their troubling behavior at school, it was claimed. Educators denied they’d been questioned.

At the time of the children’s removal from the care of their mother and father, Judge Gregg Rosenbladt credited Gray’s testimony as ‘very credible’ unbiased and persuasive.

Gray’s deception was only apparent when Nichole Benes, an assistant Cerro Gordo County attorney, noticed discrepancies in her testimony.

After investigation by DHS and the attorney general’s office, the extent of Gray’s dishonesty emerged.

On June 12, 2018, District Associate Judge Adam Sauer ruled that Gray’s testimony was riddled with ‘lies and misrepresentations’ and said ‘that false testimony is of grave concern’.

‘What does not, or at least should not happen, is that an agent of the government, charged with the task of safeguarding the welfare of children, would completely fabricate contact with a family in order to mask non-compliance with the agency’s policy,’ Sauer wrote. 

‘Providing false testimony of any kind is an unfathomable violation of the trust that the people in the State of Iowa place in their public servants and cast a dark and permanent shadow upon all of us.’

The judge dismissed all four petitions to terminate parental rights filed by the state, and ordered that ‘referrals for new foster case placements shall stop immediately’.

He blasted the state for trying to minimize the damage that Gray had done.

It’s unclear what her motives were in regards to the alleged fabricated testimony.

However, the Associated Press reported that the 2017 case came as Iowa DHS social workers were ‘under fire for failing to stop child abuse in some high-profile cases, including two teenage girls who died under the care of their adoptive parents’.

Last September Gray was taken off DHS payroll, department spokesman Matt Highland confirmed.

He said Gray wasn’t fired or forced to resign, and therefore the agency cannot disclose any information about her departure under Iowa law.

The agency also declined to release the findings of a review of Gray’s cases that the state launched after learning about her false testimony.

It’s not known whether she may have lied in other cases she managed. 

Gray is a mother herself.

Last October, she told the Associated Press that she was unaware of Sauer’s ruling on the case because she was on maternity leave with newborn twins last summer. 

She also declined to comment on the reason for her departure from DHS, where she’d worked for about two-and-a-half years.

In April, Gray was charged with three counts of perjury for her actions in the case of the northern Iowa family. She faced up to five years in prison. 

Gray entered a guilty Alford plea last week in recognition that prosecutors have enough evidence against her to result in a conviction.

However in the plea bargain she maintains her innocence.

If all goes according to plan, two charges will be dismissed and her judgement on one charge will be deferred.  

Her next hearing is scheduled for December 3.