Former DCFS supervisor tied to 2018 AJ Freund investigation makes court appearance

Defense attorney says he’s ready to begin speaking to prosecutors about next steps

One of the former child welfare workers who oversaw a 2018 investigation into the family of slain Crystal Lake boy AJ Freund appeared in court Wednesday morning.

Former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services supervisor Andrew Polovin, 48, made a brief appearance at the McHenry County courthouse, where his case was continued to June 2.

Polovin and another former DCFS worker, Carlos Acosta, who also serves on the McHenry County Board, were arrested in September in connection with a 2018 department investigation involving AJ Freund’s family. The five-year-old was killed months later by his mother.

Polovin’s attorney Matthew McQuaid said in court Wednesday that he has gathered enough information about the criminal case to begin speaking with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office about future steps.

The attorney could not immediately be reached Wednesday afternoon to say whether he expects the case to go to trial, and if so, when.

Potential state witnesses so far include the doctor who examined AJ on Dec. 18, 2018, several officers with the Crystal Lake Police Department and FBI, and investigators from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, records show. Prosecutors also have requested items including Freund and Cunningham’s police interviews and documents from the Illinois DCFS Office of the Inspector General, records show.

Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney Randi Freese additionally noted in court Wednesday that prosecutors are in the process of obtaining an expert, though she did not specify further.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Freese declined to comment on the expert or any potential discussions with Polovin’s attorney, citing an ongoing case.

Polovin was the supervisor assigned to Acosta’s 2018 investigation of a large bruise on AJ’s hip. That investigation came into question again after AJ’s death, for which his mother, JoAnn Cunningham currently is serving a 35-year prison sentence on a first-degree murder conviction.

AJ’s father, Andrew Freund Sr., was sentenced in September to 30 years in prison for aggravated battery of a child, involuntary manslaughter and concealment of a homicidal death tied to AJ’s death.

Both Polovin and Acosta are charged with child endangerment and reckless conduct on the basis that they allowed AJ to be placed in circumstances that threatened his life and health. Each of the men has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Acosta is scheduled to make his next court appearance on May 19.

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.