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Metro Digest

Local News in Brief : Child-Abuse Files Ordered Opened

August 23, 1988

A judge has ordered Los Angeles County to open its child-abuse files on Judith Barsi, the child actress who was killed by her father last month.

Judge Kathryn Doi Todd of Juvenile Dependency Court said she found "good cause" for allowing a watchdog agency to review the way the county Department of Children's Services handled the Barsi case, which ended in the shooting deaths of the mother and daughter a day or two before July 27.

In the aftermath of the killings in West Hills, it was revealed that the county agency had closed its investigation into allegations of abuse and threats by the father, Jozsef Barsi, in June.

The court order "satisfies the needs of our commission," said Nancy Daly, who chairs the Commission for Children's Services, an advisory body to the county Board of Supervisors on children's issues. The commission went to Todd after the department refused its request to review the file, citing reasons of privacy.

The commission wants to know why the case was closed and whether the system as a whole needs to be improved.

An official said the department would comply with the judge's order.

Barsi, 10, had performed in 72 commercials, many situation-comedy episodes on television and and one film, last year's "Jaws: The Revenge," since she began her career at age 5.

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