exposing the dark side of adoption
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A couple whose daughter was taken away for 2 1/2 years after social workers accused the father of raping her have sued San Diego County now that the charges have been thrown out.

The legal claim, filed Friday on behalf of Jim and Denise Wade, alleges a conspiracy involving officials of the county's Department of Child Protective Services, the district attorney's office, the county counsel's office, Children's Hospital and others.

The alleged conspiracy resulted in medical and legal malpractice, fraud, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, and civil rights violations, the claim contends.

The family is seeking unspecified damages for the emotional and physical trauma they suffered during the years that Alicia Wade, now 11, was removed

from their home. The family since has been reunited. The Wades also have a son.

Alicia was a week from being adopted by another family and her father was awaiting trial when new genetic tests proved him innocent. All proceedings against the family were dropped Nov. 15.

The family's ordeal began May 8, 1989, when a man climbed through Alicia's

window, kidnapped and raped her. She was returned before her parents awoke the next morning.

The girl said she had been hurt by a stranger who carried her off in his car to a "grassy place." But police, social workers, therapists and judges didn't believe the story.

Police accused Wade of molesting Alicia even though they knew another man had been climbing through windows to attack young girls in the Wade's Navy housing complex.

Thirteen months after she was placed in a foster home and isolated from her family, Alicia said her father had molested her.

The Wades say Alicia was coerced into implicating her father by a county therapist and foster parents who promised her she would return home if she cooperated.

Wade was arrested in December 1990.

The Wades each said they separately contemplated suicide. And they endured constant threats that their other child, 9-year-old Joshua, also would be taken away.

The Wades said they were wiped out financially by $125,000 in legal fees and had to borrow much of the money from his parents.

The couple said they hoped the legal proceedings would help get them out of debt and pay for counseling.

1991 Dec 29