The state Department of Social and Health Services has agreed to pay $1.75 million into a trust set up for a boy who was molested by his foster father between 2007 and 2008.
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle a civil suit filed on behalf of a boy who was raped by his foster father between 2007 and 2008.
Richard Jason Boothby, 41, is serving an 18-year prison sentence for raping the boy when the child was between the ages of 4 and 5. In June 2011, Boothby pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree child rape.
Seattle attorney Tim Tesh, who represents the boy in the civil case, blames DSHS for failing to properly check Boothby’s criminal record. DSHS licensed Boothby as a foster parent apparently unaware that as a juvenile he had been convicted of indecent liberties, a sex crime.
Tesh said Boothby was 14 years old in 1988 when he sexually assaulted an 11-year-old. Boothby served time at a juvenile-detention center for the assault, Tesh added.
“DSHS’s own records had information that should have prevented him [Boothby] from being a foster father. He was a sex offender as a juvenile who, in the opinion of many experts, was predatory and likely to reoffend,” Tesh said.
Tesh said his client’s case was settled Tuesday, about a month before trial in connection with the boy’s lawsuit against DSHS was slated to begin in King County Superior Court. In the suit Tesh accused DSHS of negligence.
DSHS officials declined to comment about the settlement Friday.
Boothby was charged with raping the boy in February 2011. DSHS had learned about the abuse just two months earlier, at which time, the agency says, it removed six children from the Boothby home. Boothby and his wife fostered a total of 11 children in the year and a half they were licensed, DSHS says.
After Boothby’s arrest, former DSHS spokeswoman Sherry Hill told The Seattle Times that her agency “acted as quickly as we could.”
At the time, Hill said Boothby and his wife had passed “vigorous screening and full background investigations,” adding, “if somebody doesn’t have any previous history, it’s not going to show up anywhere.”
Tesh says DSHS failed in performing its background check. He said when Bootheby was being considered as a foster parent, he told a DSHS investigator that as a juvenile he had been convicted of stealing a car.
“They [DSHS] said they didn’t think it was necessary to request his criminal files,” Tesh said.
“If DSHS is not looking into their own records in this case, how many more dangerous backgrounds have they missed in licensing foster parents?” Tesh asked.
The boy told King County sheriff’s investigators that he had climbed into Boothby’s bed at times because he was scared of the “boogeyman,” court documents say.
At such times, Boothby performed sex acts on him, charging documents say.
After an investigation into the abuse had begun, Boothby went to the Sheriff’s Office with his pastor because he reportedly “wanted to tell about what he had been doing with his foster kids,” according to court documents.
In all, according to court documents, Boothby had sexual contact with the boy on five occasions.
When Boothby was charged in 2011 he was also accused of fondling a 7-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy. Those allegations were not part of his guilty plea in crimes involving the younger boy.
Tesh said his client is now 10 and is living with a relative in California.
“He’s doing as well as can be expected,” Tesh said. “He’s with a loving family and is in counseling and will be for a long, long time.”