Couple settles DSHS lawsuit for $3 million

The state Department of Social and Health Services settled a lawsuit brought by an Island County family for $3 million, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

The couple alleged a social worker didn’t disclose that the boy they were adopting was previously diagnosed as a psychopath and had acted in a sexually inappropriate manner.

After he was adopted, the boy sexually assaulted the couple’s three children when he was 12 and 13 years old.

The state settled the case “without any admission of liability,” according to court documents. Judge Richard Jones approved the settlement Jan. 14.

The couple was represented by Lincoln Beauregard and Jule Kays of Connelly Law Offices in Seattle.

Beauregard previously represented women who were sexually assaulted as children by a swim coach who worked for North Whidbey Park and Recreation District, as well as alleged sexual-assault victims of the former Seattle mayor.

According to the complaint, a social worker had the boy evaluated by a neuropsychologist who formally diagnosed him as a psychopath. The expert concluded that there was a concern for his “unpredictable behavior in a person with potentially psychotic and clearly violent thinking.”

In a deposition, the social worker said she “probably should” have provided the new parents with the report, the complaint states.

“This sort of deliberately deceptive neglect should not just be civilly accountable, but perhaps considered criminal behavior,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint explained how the mother discovered that the boy had been molesting the other children. It outlined a series of steps she took in immediately contacting a long series of state agencies and the Island County Sheriff’s Office for help.

The boy was convicted of child molestation and sentenced under the state Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, which allows for a shorter sentence if an offender agrees to attend treatment and abide by strict rules. The prosecution later moved to revoke the special sentence because the boy broke the rules by looking at pornography, but the judge denied the request, according to court records.

Since then, the boy hasn’t been charged with any sex-related offenses, according to court documents.

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