Union County

Charlotte Observer

The welfare of five children now at the center of a high-profile abuse case worried staffers at Union Academy charter school last year, a school supervisor said.

The supervisor said she decided to bypass the local Department of Social Services because she knew the children’s mother worked there as a manager. Instead, the supervisor tried to contact the state DSS directly, but she says her calls were not returned.

Grand Jury Indictment Shows History Of Child Abuse

Dec 10, 2013
Union County Sheriff's Office

We now know more about the charges of abuse against a Union County couple accused of handcuffing a boy to their front porch with a dead chicken around his neck.

Grand jury indictments released Tuesday elaborate the history of abuse that authorities say the 11-year-old faced under the couple's guardianship.


Union County To Dissolve Health Board After Child Abuse Case

Nov 27, 2013

Union County commissioners will move to dissolve the board that oversees the county’s Division of Social Services, according to one commissioner in a series of Youtube videos the county released today. The change would come as part of the county's response to the high-profile child-abuse case earlier this month, where an 11-year-old boy was found handcuffed by the ankle to his front porch. One of the guardians of the child, Wanda Larson, was a supervisor for Child Protective Services, which is part of the division.

Union County Faulted Over Handling Of Previous Child Abuse Complaint

Nov 22, 2013

The Union County Department of Social Services used a “bogus” interpretation of state law in dismissing a 2012 sheriff’s complaint against a top DSS official, a child-protection expert said Thursday.

The DSS supervisor, Wanda Larson, was arrested last week in connection with a new abuse case involving the same boy as in 2012.

The Monroe couple charged with child abuse for allegedly handcuffing an 11-year-old boy to their front porch with a dead chicken tied around his neck are not the foster parents of that child, as previously reported. DHHS says the foster care license for Wanda Larson and Dorian Harper expired in 2010.


$500K Bond For Couple Accused Of Handcuffing Child

Nov 18, 2013
Union County Sheriff's Office

 Bond was set for about $500,000 each for the Monroe couple charged with child abuse for allegedly handcuffing an 11-year-old boy by the ankle to their front porch. Dorian Harper and Wanda Larson -- a supervisor in the county's department of social services -- had their first court appearance in front of a Union County judge Monday morning. On Friday, an animal control officer found the child while responding to a complaint about a loose animal. While looking for the animal, he followed a trail that led to the child's secluded home.

Rowan County

Prayers in government meetings have received a lot of attention in North Carolina. The ACLU has sued the Rowan County Commission, and another group has threatened to sue the Union County Commission for what they say are “sectarian prayers.”

As the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a similar case from New York next week, we explore what the case could mean for North Carolina.


Jimmy Wayne / Flickr

The dispute between Union County and its schools is not finished.  Union County commissioners have decided to appeal the jury’s verdict that the county owes the district $91 million. 


Jimmy Wayne / Flickr

Union County Public Schools has scored a victory.  After a two-month long trial, a jury has decided Union County owes the district a whopping $91 million. 

“To be perfectly honest, I’m in awe and humbled at the number,” says school board chairman Richard Yercheck. 

“I think whoever tells you they’re not surprised at a verdict of $91 million would be lying to you,” says attorney Richard Schwartz who represented the district.

pengrin / Flickr

In Cabarrus County, low-income families are having to wait more than two months on average to get food stamps. The delays are tied to a new system the state has made all counties use since March. Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union are among nine counties the state says have struggled the most with it.


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