There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. -- Aldous Huxley
A case against the state is filed on behalf of a boy, 12, who reportedly was sexually abused
An attorney for a 12-year-old Eugene boy is seeking more than $500,000 from the state in a lawsuit that alleges the boy was sexually abused while in foster care.
The boy’s name is not disclosed in the suit, which was filed in Lane County Circuit Court. It claims the boy was abused by an 18-year-old man who at the time was under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court and lived in the same foster home.
The suit seeks $450,000 in noneconomic damages and $120,000 in economic damages. It was filed by Portland attorney David Paul, who also pursued settlements from the state in two other prominent Lane County cases involving children in state care who were subjected to severe abuse.
In the most recent case, the victim is identified only by the initials M.C. The suit says that in August 2011, when the boy was 11 years old, he reported that he had been physically and sexually abused while in state-¬approved foster care.
The suit does not name the foster parents or any supervisor of the foster home. A spokesman for the Department of Human Services said the agency does not comment on active lawsuits.
Paul claims the state was negligent for failing to adequately screen the foster placement, failing to do an adequate home study and background checks, failing to adequately screen and investigate other adult and juvenile residents of the foster home, failing to detect the abuse and failing to protect the boy and remove him from the placement before abuse occurred.
As a result, the boy suffered emotional and physical injuries, upset and trauma, and is unable to form close relationships, the suit alleges. It seeks $20,000 for his medical and counseling expenses to date and $100,000 for future expenses, saying the boy will need treatment for the rest of his life, “especially at times of significant life events and milestones.”
In an interview, Paul said the boy suffers from “substantial, ongoing problems” and no longer is in foster care.
In seeking noneconomic damages, the suit says the boy has been left “sick, angry, nervous, upset, traumatized and unable to form close relationships and (has) suffered a loss of his concentration.”
Paul also has been involved in civil lawsuits in the cases of murdered teenager Jeanette Maples and a foster child placed with Alona and Rodger Hartwig. In the Maples case, he won a $1.5 million settlement for Anthony Maples, Jeanette Maples’ biological father.
Jeanette Maples, 15, died in 2009 as a result of severe abuse by her mother, Angela McAnulty of Eugene. The resulting lawsuit alleged that the state failed to investigate and follow up on reliable reports of Maples’ abuse.
Angela McAnulty later pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to death.Her husband, and Maples’ stepfather, Richard McAnulty, pleaded guilty to murder by abuse and is serving a life sentence.
In the Hartwig case, Paul last year filed a suit seeking $4.75 million on behalf of an 11-year-old boy who suffered severe abuse by the Hartwigs, his adoptive parents. The boy suffered multiple burns and broken bones along with other forms of brutal abuse over several years starting in 2005.
Alona Hartwig pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree abuse and first-degree criminal mistreatment. She is serving a 10-year sentence.
Rodger Hartwig pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and is serving a five-year sentence.
Paul said the current case does not involve either the Hartwig or McAnulty cases.