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Two former DHS workers charged in Serenity Deal case

Two fired Oklahoma DHS workers won't see any jail time in the case of the child killed by her abusive father. They were given suspended sentences, and each must pay a $250 fine, $100 to a victims' compensation fund and court courts.
by Nolan Clay Modified: November 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012

The second time, she came back to the foster home with the black eyes, swollen and bruised face and other injuries, records show. Both she and her father said he dropped her accidentally. DHS workers accepted that explanation.

Holding up hospital photos of Serenity's injuries, Smothermon on Friday told reporters, “There is no way that this child fell out of a car seat. And anybody, without any bit of education, can tell that his story was just not true. This child was beaten. They never provided that to the court.”

Brooks, 32, is serving a life term in prison for first-degree murder. He admitted in his guilty plea that he beat Serenity in the head when he killed her.

Smothermon last year asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the handling of Serenity's placement. The OSBI this year sent the prosecutor a 1,046-page report.

The OSBI investigation revealed Brooks' own father, Roy Brooks, had warned DHS workers in emails about his son. The workers did not share Roy Brooks' concerns with either the court or the district attorney's office, an OSBI agent reported.

The agent reported that after Serenity died, Roy Brooks told Shawn in an email, “I once advised you against granting Sean custody of Serenity. But, my counsel was ignored. Now she's dead!”

The OSBI agent also reported that DHS workers never told the judge or district attorney's office about Sean Brooks' criminal history.

The agent reported the history included a child abuse arrest in Oklahoma County in October 2000.

DHS released a statement Friday night about the decision to charge the two former workers.

“We share the district attorney's belief that the child welfare workers handling Deal's case, Jennifer Shawn and Randy Lack, were negligent in their duties which is why they were terminated last year,” the agency stated. “We continue to regret the heart-wrenching outcome of this child's case.” has disabled the comments for this article.
by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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