ALBANY — Three-year-old Aaron Boland was beaten to death two days afterthe state child abuse hotline mishandled a report against his stepmother.But an appellate court ruled Thursday that the State could not be heldliable because there was insufficient proof that its negligence was theproximate cause of the boy’s death.

The hotline forwarded the abuse report to the wrong county for investigation,and local child protection workers did not go to the stepmother’s homeuntil two days later, arriving just hours after the fatal beating.

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