VANCOUVER, Wash. — The state of Washington is paying one family $3.1 million after their foster child was taken from them and placed with a convicted child rapist.
The Vancouver, Wash. family said the state knew about the man's conviction and still placed the child with him; the man was the girl's biological father. The girl's foster parents said they warned the state about his criminal past. They shared their story with KIRO 7.
The father, who we are only naming as Jared, admits the entire ordeal which has lasted for his now adopted daughter’s entire life has been trying to say the least.
“I blame myself a lot because I feel like I could have done something else but I couldn't,” said Jared.
In 2009, Jared said he and his wife could only watch as the state of Washington removed their foster daughter and returned her to her biological father. “(I am) pretty angry, the signs were there, the warnings were there and we'd cautioned them multiple times about it. It's sad but it was inevitable.”
Jared said the state should have known better. The girl's biological father, Randall Abel, was a convicted child rapist.
Despite knowing that, the state of Washington gave him full custody.
Court records show years later, the girl revealed Abel abused her for years.
“She was back in the system because her father had sexually abused her, at that time she was about 5 and we've had her ever since then. We've also adopted her,” Jared said.
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services said Abel was sentenced to 15 years for abusing his own daughter. She went back to live with Jared and his wife, who sued the state of Washington for $9 million and received a $3.1 million settlement on the girl's behalf.
In a statement DSHS said: "We believe this settlement provides the means for this child to get the care she will need to recover from this traumatic time in her life."
Jared said he wants to make sure this never happens again.
“Just giving a child to a convicted sex offender, who was already convicted of child rape and sent to prison for it, that's our main reason for bringing it to light,” Jared said.
The DSHS statement does not say what measure's the agency has taken to prevent this from happening again but the agency did tell KPTV in Portland that they will continue to look at their policies to ensure that children are protected.
Attorney Cole Douglas represented the family from the firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala in Tacoma. Douglas says the Settlement between the family and the state of Washington was reached in mid-February after a short period of mediation.
He says the money has not been disbursed to the family yet, but should be soon with the approval of the court. The family says they will be allotting the entire amount to their adoptive daughter, for her future needs.
-- Ranji Sinha, KIRO 7 News