A woman who said that as a 13-year-old child her father gave her alcohol to make her defenseless to his sexual abuse, will be paid $2.85 million by the Department of Social and Health Services whom she blames for failing to protect her.
The state Department of Social and Health Services will pay $2.85 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a Grays Harbor County woman who was sexually abused by her father when she was 13 years old.
Saying they failed to protect her, the now 21-year-old in 2009 sued DSHS and the social worker who handled her case. In the lawsuit she described in detail how for months her father forced her to perform sex acts — sometimes plying her with alcohol so she would not resist.
Her father, a Pacific County man, was convicted of felony sexual abuse of a minor in 2006 and sentenced to about four years in prison. He has had to register as a sex offender.
The Seattle Times is not naming him to protect the identity of the victim, who shares his last name.
Most Read Local Stories
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book
- An Idaho ICU doctor's touching message went viral. Here's what he told his co-workers
- Coronavirus daily news updates, September 21: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- There's an opening for the GOP in Washington state — and they're squandering it on conspiracies
- Coronavirus daily news updates, September 22: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
The woman’s Seattle attorney, David P. Moody, said his client endured “near daily physical and sexual abuse after a botched child-abuse investigation by DSHS.”
In a statement, Denise Revels Robinson, assistant secretary of DSHS’ Children’s Administration, said, “We regret this young woman had to suffer at the hands of the adult she had trusted to love her and keep her safe.
“We take to heart every case in which harm is inflicted on a child with whom we’ve had contact.”
A trial on the woman’s lawsuit was to begin later this month.
In 2004, the girl and her younger brother went to live with their father at his home in Sumner, Pierce County, after he told Child Protective Services (CPS) that their mother was abusing drugs and neglecting them.
Within months, according to the lawsuit, Sumner police received complaints that the father was giving alcohol and methamphetamines to minors and had solicited minor girls for sex and to play strip poker with him.
He was later arrested on charges of child molestation, providing methamphetamines to minors, attempted child molestation and five counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.
CPS also began an investigation, in which the man’s daughter, then 13, denied that he had abused her, according to the state.
As part of its own investigation, Sumner police interviewed several children — some as young as 6 — who said the man had molested them, according to the complaint.
One 16-year-old girl, for example, told police he asked her to have sex with him because at that age she was “legal,” the complaint said.
A 6-year-old girl said the man had put his hand down her pants, according to the complaint.
Within a week of his arrest, the man was released from jail and granted visitation with his children, supervised by his mother.
The grandmother told CPS the children were doing well under her care and going to school regularly.
But in the absence of any criminal charges against the father by local police, the girl’s denial of abuse and what CPS officials called an “inconclusive forensic exam for evidence of sexual abuse,” the state closed the case as unfounded.
In the fall of 2004, both children were returned to their father. He moved the family to Raymond, Pacific County.
From then until May 2005, according to the complaint, the girl said she was physically and sexually abused by her father.
In May 2005, she ran away from his home and reported the abuse.
In November of that year, police in Raymond began an investigation and a month later charged the girl’s father with 14 counts of incest, molestation and rape.
In February 2006 he entered an Alford plea, which is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that a jury would likely find him guilty.
Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @turnbullL.