STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been almost 13 months since Teddy Foltz was brutally beaten to death at the age of 14.
On Wednesday, the boy’s father said going to court may be the only way he can get answers. Shawn Tedesco said he is suing Mahoning County Children Services, claiming agency workers and directors were aware of the abuse committed against his son and should have done more to stop it.
Teddy died in January of 2013 after suffering what authorities say were repeated assaults and beatings at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush. Tedesco said even though complaints were made to CSB, he was never made aware of any of it.
“We want to see CSB hold some type of accountability for what happened to Teddy. After reading the police reports over the past couple of days, it sort of makes you sick that nothing was done,” Tedesco said.
Tedesco has been pushing for changes in Ohio law to require child protection agencies to notify both parents of suspected abuse. Tedesco and Teddy’s mother, Shain Widdersheim, were never married.
Bush was convicted in Teddy’s death and Widdersheim also was sent to prison for not doing anything to protect her son.
Tedesco’s lawyer said CSB directors not only failed to protect Teddy, but they also tried to stall the investigation.
“They were literally ordering the case workers on the scene, who knew this was something more than an accident, to back off. CSB was asking the Struthers Police Department to back off in this investigation,” said Tedesco’s attorney, David Engler.
When asked why he has waited until now to get answers, Tedesco said “This ain’t about myself, this is about him and how he suffered. There’s other kids from around the country that suffered like Teddy did.”
The agency’s director said the law won’t let him talk publicly about child abuse cases. He wasn’t willing to discuss the new lawsuit at the advice of the Mahoning County Prosecutor.
We asked Engler, who is running for the 7th District Court of Appeals and is gunning for the local Democratic Party’s endorsement this Saturday, why Wednesday’s announcement shouldn’t be seen simply as political grandstanding.
“This is the job I do every day. My timing isn’t about politics. And as you’ll see, this has nothing to do with politics. This has everything to do with Teddy Foltz,” Engler said.
However, our station learned Engler filed to have Tedesco handle his son’s estate late Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the lawsuit had been filed. And prosecutors said since Tedesco lives in Sharon, he’s not legally allowed to serve as administrator in Ohio.
On Thursday, Mahoning County Probate Judge Mark Belinky ruled Tedesco was not eligible, but Engler could oversee Teddy’s estate in his place.
The lawsuit has been assigned to Judge James Evans in Mahoning County and is seeking at least $3 million in damages.