Ex-social worker sentenced for lying in north Iowa child custody case

Her testimony led to four children being taken away from their parents.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 1:09 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2019 1:23 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – A former social worker is pleading guilty to lying in a case where four children were taken away from their parents.

Chelsie Joe Gray, 31 of Lawler, has entered a guilty plea to one count of perjury. She’s been given a deferred judgment, two years of supervised probation, and a civil penalty of $750. Two other counts of perjury have been dismissed.

Gray was accused of deliberately giving false testimony during a December 2017 hearing where she recommended a judge terminate the parental rights of a mother and father. According to court documents, Gray told the judge she had spoken with teachers about the children and that she saw the children at least once a month in their foster home as required by state law.

Prosecutors said those were lies and Gray actually talked about separating the three young brothers from their sister. The judge’s ruling removing the children was overturned after discrepancies were found in Gray’s testimony but she continued to work for the Department of Human Services until she quit after the Associated Press started asking questions about her.

As part of her deferred judgment, this conviction will be removed from Gray’s record if she successfully completes her probation.

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