Child Protective Services Under Fire For "Baby Angel" Case

CPS Said Previous Charges Against Dad May Not Be Enough

The case of a Bakersfield man with an extensive criminal history who is accused of mutilating his son has prompted many to wonder how Child Protective Services could have allowed him to have custody of the boy.

Kern County Child Protective Services would not comment specifically on the Angelo Mendoza case because of privacy laws, but officials did shed light on their protocols in hopes of getting the public to understand the situation.

Angelo Mendoza senior is accused of biting his 4-year-old son's eyes and hands April 28, leaving him blind. The boy told doctors "My daddy ate my eyes out."

A police report said the single father appeared to be high on PCP.

CPS said there must be evidence of serious abuse or neglect before a child is taken away from his parents. Drug use by the parent isn't always enough.

Mendoza also had more than 20 criminal cases filed, most of which were dismissed. CPS said criminal history is considered but convictions are required.

Three years ago, Mendoza pled no contest to willful cruelty to a child. But CPS says that too may not be enough.

"Willful cruelty can be used along a spectrum. It could be an overt action to the child it could also be applied when the child is present during a domestic violence" said Bethany Christman of CPS.

CPS said someone must report direct abuse or neglect on a child and there needs to be evidence in order for CPS to take away the child.

Another question being asked is what about the mother? CPS says she was allowed supervised parental visits to the toddler twice a week. There's a current warrant out for her arrest for failing to complete drug treatment.

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