Suffolk special grand jury, county lawmakers prime for deep dive into Valva case

Suffolk County district attorney Tim Sini speaks at First District Court in Central Islip on April 25, 2019. Credit: James Carbone

Suffolk’s district attorney and a bipartisan committee of the county legislature have announced they will dig, and dig deeper into the system that failed 8-year-old Thomas Valva.

Let the spelunking begin.

Timothy Sini, Suffolk’s DA, will make use of a special grand jury, an independent panel that, armed with the DA’s power of subpoena, will be muscular enough to scrutinize records and hear testimony from witnesses about events usually shielded under state privacy laws.

“When you are particularly dealing with a case of a child fatality or abuse, child protective services, Family Court, these are confidential files and there is only so much that these government organizations are going to share,” Sini said in an interview last week.

“That is not only a matter of discretion, it is a matter of law,” he said. ” … You need a court order to have them produced and we are able to do that.”

In the Suffolk County Legislature, Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), the presiding officer, along with legislators Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and Minority Leader Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore), have been tasked with scrutinizing every interaction the Valva family had with Suffolk agencies.”Obviously, there are things that happened in Nassau that we will have limited access to,” Calarco said in an interview last week. “But once the family moves to Suffolk, there are multiple points of contact with our social services and police department, and family […]

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