Lawyer for alleged 5-year-old abuse victim files $820,000 suit vs. state
Aimee Green/The Oregonian
May 01, 2009
An attorney representing a 5-year-old boy who reported that he was molested while in state-certified foster care is suing the state for $820,000.
According to the suit filed on behalf of the boy, another 12-year-old foster child who was living in the Columbia County home sexually abused him. David Paul, an attorney for the 5-year-old boy said the younger boy told a counselor about the February 2008 abuse. He later was assessed by trained child-abuse experts.
"He just started becoming very shy and reclusive," said Paul, noting one sign of how the abuse affected the boy.
The boy has since returned to live with his mother, but he grows agitated when caseworkers from the Oregon Department of Human Services check on him, Paul said.
"He's terrified that DHS is going to take him back," Paul said. Paul said the boy has amassed $20,000 in medical bills, counseling and other costs so far. He will need treatment throughout his life, and will suffer a loss of earning capacity.
The suit, which was filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, claims that DHS was negligent for failing to adequately screen the home and the risk other children in the home posed. The suit also claims the state is liable for the boy's abuse because it had custody of -- and under state law was liable for -- the alleged abuser.
It is unclear whether the 12-year-old boy has been charged with a crime.
A DHS spokeswoman said she wasn't aware of the suit, and couldn't comment.
-- Aimee Green; firstname.lastname@example.org