SOURCE: Talenfeld Law

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March 02, 2015 12:18 ET

Bill Seeks $5M for Child Sexually Abused by Foster Boy Living in the Home

TALLAHASSEE, FL--(Marketwired - March 02, 2015) - A Claims Bill has been filed regarding a West Palm Beach jury verdict, which would provide $5 million to a victim of sexual abuse. The bill, SB 58, was filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, (Trilby), and is the result of a verdict against the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) on behalf of a young man ("C.M.H.") who was sexually assaulted at age nine by an 11-year-old foster child ("J.W.") DCF had placed at the home. Representative Jimmie Smith (Inverness) is the sponsor of the House companion bill HB 3537.

The October 2013 jury verdict after a four week trial allows C.M.H. to seek the $5 million Claims Bill in the Florida Legislature.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2006 on the family's behalf against DCF and its case management subcontractors. The jury awarded found CMH had $10 million in damages but the judgment was only entered for $5 million against the Florida Department of Children & Families because the jury also found that the parents were 50 percent at fault. 

In 2009 the Florida Legislature awarded a Claims Bill in yet another DCF related tragedy that is remarkably similar. The Florida Legislature awarded a $10 million claims bill to the Garcia-Bengochea family where DCF allowed them to adopt in a sexual predator awaiting residential placement with an innocent 8-year-old child.

"It is a sad state of affairs when in the past DCF placed a sexual predator in a home, when he was assumed to be psychotic and potentially homicidal and whom they knew to have previously sexually assaulted his two and a half year old sister," said Rep. Smith.

Even the Defense expert, Dr. Stephen Alexander, agreed that C.M.H. suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of the sexual assault.

DCF had removed J.W., a ten year old child, from his natural parents due to allegations of abuse and neglect in May 2002 and placed him with the parents of C.M.H., then eight.

C.M.H. did not admit the assault to his parents until 2005, just before J.W. was removed from the home. C.M.H. is now 20 and. J.W., now 21, is serving time in a Florida prison on a larceny charge. In testimony in court, C.M.H.'s family had testified that the mother had known J.W., the attacker, had himself been sexually assaulted, but that they had not been aware of his terrible history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

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