MONTICELLO - Tensions ran high as Sullivan County Attorney Michael McGuire and members of his office held a press conference Wednesday, May 24, responding to Acting District Attorney (DA) Brian …
MONTICELLO - Tensions ran high as Sullivan County Attorney Michael McGuire and members of his office held a press conference Wednesday, May 24, responding to Acting District Attorney (DA) Brian Conaty’s claims that McGuire himself denied requests to remove 16 month-old Akasha Luvert from the care of her parents on three separate occasions.
As previously reported by the Democrat, the Village of Liberty Police, along with Emergency Medical Services, responded to a 911 call for a child in cardiac arrest at the Knights Inn Motel on State Route 52 in Liberty at approximately 7:30 on the night of May 2.
The Liberty police department arrested Lisa Keitt, 26, and 41-year-old Jimmie Luvert after responding officers found 16-month-old Akasha unconscious and unresponsive in the lobby of the motel.
According to the report, authorities attempted to perform life-saving measures and transported the child via ambulance to Garnet Medical Center, who was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
The DA held a press conference on May 18 to discuss the tragic death of the infant which was due to fentanyl, in which he stated “under his (McGuire’s) regime, he created a culture of widespread apathy that has discouraged the workers from bringing forth the appropriate requests to remove children.”
McGuire said in response that he was unable to re
move the child from the parents due to the evidence that was available at the time.
“The death of a young child by overdose is a terrible tragedy, as a father and grandfather my heart breaks for the child and her family,” McGuire said.
“Based on the false statement he [Conaty] made in last week’s press conference, the Acting District Attorney either doesn’t understand the law, or is ignoring it for his political gain.”
He went on to say that Conaty is “unhinged as he proceeded to bash my staff, whom together features more than 170 years of experience, and enjoys a distinguished reputation as members of the Bar.”
McGuire supported his claims with a 14 page booklet given to members of the press including a flow chart describing child neglect cases and their processes, a previous judicial subpoena commanding the parents of Akasha Luvert to appear before the Acting Family Court Judge, and more relevant case information.
In his press conference last week, Conaty stated “I am the chief law enforcement officer in this county and my office has been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of the battle to end the opioid Epidemic once and for all,” which was heavily disputed by McGuire, who said that “the County Charter specifies that the County Sheriff, Michael Schiff, holds that title.”
Schiff was present and stood with McGuire at the conference.
The County Attorney’s Office claimed Conaty is “playing politics” by exploiting the death of an infant for political gain. In published reports, Conaty said that he stands by his previous comments.
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