Civil Suit Follows Acquittal in Baby Death

Date: 2004-05-02

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Civil Suit Follows Acquittal in Baby Death

By Katie Burford
Journal Staff Writer
Veronica Bogey was recently acquitted on criminal charges in Roswell related to the death of her 3-year-old adopted daughter, but she faces another legal battle.
The 31-year-old former teacher is named in a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of Grace Bogey's siblings and biological mother.
The suit alleges that Bogey and her father, Terry Bogey, also known as Teri Bogey, caused Grace's death and seeks punitive damages.
The suit also seeks damages from the Children, Youth and Families Department and department social workers. The suit alleges that CYFD failed to place the child in a safe home.
Matt Dillman, a CYFD spokesman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.
Grace Bogey, who was born with spina bifida and was paralyzed from the waist down, died Sept. 2, 2000. An autopsy report ruled the death a homicide because of injuries to her head and body.
Veronica Bogey was acquitted by a Roswell jury of three child abuse charges last month. Her attorney presented evidence to support the finding that the girl's death was the result of pneumonia.
Terry Bogey pleaded no contest in August 2003 to a charge of third-degree child abuse and was sentenced to probation.
Veronica Bogey's attorney, Jerry Walz, said the criminal case inhibited his client's ability to defend herself in the civil case. The acquittal changes that, he said.
In the civil case earlier last month, U.S. District Judge James O. Browning found Veronica Bogey liable for Grace's death.
"We're going to file a series of motions on behalf of Veronica to set aside the finding of liability that had been previously issued in part because she had to assert her Fifth Amendment rights in civil proceedings," he said.
He said he will show that Grace died of natural causes.
"We believe there is absolutely no doubt that Veronica had nothing to do whatsoever with Grace's death," he said.
He will also seek to have Terry Bogey dismissed as a defendant in the case for lack of evidence that he was involved in Grace's death, he said.
However, Paul Kennedy, an attorney representing Grace Bogey's family, said the acquittal doesn't make a difference because civil and criminal courts have different thresholds for finding against a defendant.
"The judge found that by a preponderance of evidence in the civil case that she was liable for the death," he said.
He said Veronica Bogey didn't have to invoke her Fifth Amendment right.
"She chose to do that," Kennedy said. "If she was innocent, I don't know why she would have to do it."
In the criminal case, a state prosecutor said the state was "hamstrung" by state District Judge Charles Currier's ruling that the term "shaken baby syndrome" could not be used during the trial because it was too prejudicial to the defendant.
Assistant Attorney General Art Weidemann said the basis of the prosecution's case was that Grace died of injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Defense attorney Gary Mitchell said his experts showed that hemorrhaging in Grace's brain was caused by illness and not shaking.
A hearing in the civil case is set for June 11.

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