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Iowa social worker pleads not guilty to perjury in custody case

Accused of lying multiple times to remove four children from their parents' care.

Posted: May 14, 2019 5:19 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa – The social worker accused of lying in a case where four children were removed from their parents is pleading not guilty.

Chelsie Jo Gray, 30 of Lawler, is charged with three counts of perjury. Authorities say Gray knowingly gave false testimony in a December 2017 hearing where she recommended a judge terminate the parental rights of a mother and father. Gray had been assigned as the case worker when the Department of Human Services sought to remove four North Iowa children from their biological parents.

Court documents state Gray told the judge she had spoken with teachers about how the children were doing in school and that she saw the children at least once a month in their foster home as required by Iowa law. Gray also testified she would recommend keeping all four children in the same foster home. Prosecutors say those were lies and Gray actually discussed a plan to separate the three brothers from their sister.

A trial is now scheduled to begin in Cerro Gordo County District Court on July 23.

The judge’s ruling removing the children was overturned after discrepancies were found in Gray’s testimony but she continued to work for the DHS until resigning after the Associated Press asked questions about her job status.

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