A Department of Child Services case manager allegedly lied in court to have a child removed from his family and placed with her lover.
According to a recently filed lawsuit, a former case manager with the Department of Child Services lied in court to have a 6-year-old child removed from his family and placed with the case manager’s sexual partner.
The case managed is Sandra Sell. According to plaintiffs Jason and Myka Kelly, Sell had a sexual connection with the father of Myka Kelly’s 6-year-old son in 2020. Sell was the case manager assigned to the Kelly’s children, and was working out of the department’s Wabash County office at the time.
What happened, though? What is the backstory of the case? Well, after a report of a domestic altercation between Jason and Myka Kelly in January 2020, the Kellys’ six children were identified as children in need of services, or CHINS. According to the lawsuit, DCS workers were concerned when investigating the report “that the Kellys were using illegal narcotics in front of their family.”
However, the suit alleges that DCS violated the Kellys’ constitutional rights by taking the children from their home without a court order in February 2020.
In May of 2020, the children were returned to their parents and their case was assigned to Sell.
The suit notes that Sell’s relationship with the 6-year-old boy’s father, Larry Noland, became sexual in October 2020, after she oversaw a visit between Noland and the 6-year-old boy.
Due to their relationship, Sell began to take steps to expedite the removal process in favor of Noland. For example, she encouraged him to “ask his attorney about a change in placement, talked with her supervisor about a change in placement for the 6-year-old, and accused Jason Kelly of sexually abusing the child.”
The suit also accuses Sell of lying in an affidavit filed in December 2020 that supported allegations that the Kellys had “broken court orders and engaged in child abuse and neglect earlier that month.” Because of that affidavit, the Kellys’ “six children were removed from the home.”
The six-year-old boy was placed with Noland, who had just been released from prison after serving “five years for a felony of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious injury.” The other children were placed in foster care.
About four months later, DCS’ Wabash County director learned about the relationship between Sell and Noland. Sell was fired soon after and all six children were returned to the Kellys. From there, the focus shifted from the Kellys to Sell. In November 2021, the Wabash County Prosecutor’s Office filed felony charges of official misconduct and obstruction of justice against her, along with a “misdemeanor of falsifying child abuse or neglect information or records.”
Sell eventually pleaded guilty to the obstruction of justice charge and was handed a sentence of 179 days probation while the other two charges were dismissed.
The Indiana Office of Inspector General also began looking into Sell and issued a report that “corroborated the allegations that Sell had attempted to manipulate the removal of the 6-year-old from the Kellys to the benefit of Noland.” Sell later admitted her actions in an affidavit.
Despite the investigations into Sell, the Kellys wanted justice and began working on the lawsuit that was recently filed against the state. Filed in Wabash Circuit Court, the defendants include “the State of Indiana, Sell, and five other DCS employees accused of unconstitutionally removing the children from the Kellys without a court order in February 2020.”