Former Caregiver Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Investigation Related to Violation of Disabled Resident’s Civil Rights
Anthony R. K. Flores, a former employee of a Missouri residential treatment facility, pleaded guilty in federal court in the Western District of Missouri to criminal charges arising from a civil rights investigation into the death of C.D., a Missouri ward of the state with developmental disabilities. Flores pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing justice by knowingly falsifying a document with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence an investigation related to the death of C.D.
According to the plea agreement, Flores worked as a caregiver at Second Chance Homes, an organization that provided housing and care for developmentally disabled persons through a Missouri Department of Mental Health initiative. Victim C.D. had been a resident at Second Chance Homes since 2008.
In early 2016, C.D.’s health deteriorated over a period of several months, culminating in his death later that year. Prior to the law enforcement becoming aware of C.D.’s death, he was reported missing by his primary caretaker, Sherry Paulo. In 2019, Sherry Paulo and Anthony Flores – the defendant’s parents – pleaded guilty to civil rights violations in connection with C.D.’s death.
Flores admitted in his plea agreement that after C.D. was reported missing to the Fulton Police Department, Flores wrote a false statement in which he stated that he saw C.D. alive and well on April 16, 2017. Flores did so while knowing that he had not seen C.D. in at least six months.
“The defendants’ actions in seeking to impede law enforcement from locating a developmentally disabled individual are unacceptable,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to hold people accountable who seek to obstruct the investigation of criminal civil rights offenses.”
“The defendant attempted to cover up a crime and lied to authorities who were searching for the missing victim,” said U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison of the Western District of Missouri. “Obstructing justice and impeding an investigation won’t be tolerated. Our nation’s civil rights laws are designed to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, which each one of us is morally and legally obligated to uphold.”
“The FBI will continue to work aggressively with our federal, state and local partners to protect the civil rights of every citizen. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to seek justice on behalf of all victims and aggressively investigate and bring those responsible to justice,” said Timothy Langan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Flores’ efforts to obstruct the investigation into the death of this vulnerable individual is a serious crime that demands punishment,” said Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Coordinating with our law enforcement partners, we are committed to investigating such misconduct.”
Under Flores’s plea agreement, he faces a maximum of 24 months incarceration. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the Jefferson City Resident Agency of the FBI Kansas City Division and the St. Louis Field Office of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General Kansas City Region. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cindi Woolery and Gregg Coonrod of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Special Litigation Counsel Julia Gegenheimer and Trial Attorney Janea Lamar of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Criminal Section. The Fulton, Missouri Police Department and Callaway County Prosecutor Christopher Wilson contributed significantly to the successful investigation and prosecution of this matter.