Extremely graphic details listed in lawsuit filed against NH DCYF arguing negligence
WARNING: The details of this article are extremely graphic and could upset some readers.
A civil lawsuit has been filed by the grandparents - and now adoptive parents - of two children who were sexually and physically assaulted by their biological parents that claims the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families and Easter Seals disregarded numerous red flags that led to the abuse.
DCYF officials say parents should be given "an opportunity to fail" in cases of child abuse: https://t.co/zXnYfLep4K— NH1 News Network (@NH1News) October 21, 2016
Do you agree?
Attorney Rus Rilee filed the lawsuit on behalf of the girls - referenced as N.B. and J.B. - through the Hillsborough County Superior Court. The family is seeking monetary damages for N.B. and J.B. and is aiming to change the way the agency operates and calls for more accountability.
It is the first lawsuit of several Rilee said he plans to file against the state. He also represents the families of Brielle Gage and Sadee Willott, who were murdered by their mothers while they were actively involved with DCYF.
The first allegation of abuse was back when J.B. was 5-months-old and suffered a broken collar bone. DCYF was contacted, and deemed the investigation "unfounded."
The parents were reported for a second time, this time by the grandparents - referenced as T.C. and D.C., for continually banging J.B.'s head hard against a ceiling beam as she walked her up and down a staircase, while not doing anything to prevent it. Again, the DCYF deemed the investigation "unfounded."
A third investigation was launched toward the end of 2010 after someone noticed a cigarette burn on the bottom of J.B. right foot. It was also deemed "unfounded."
Another investigation was launched two months after N.B. was born when she suffered a broken collarbone and arm. For a fourth time, DCYF deemed the investigation "unfounded."
In July 2012, N.B. was 3 months old, and J.B., who was almost 3-years-old, were removed from custody from their biological parents and were placed in foster care with their grandparents. The biological father was arrested after he was accused of kicking N.B. across the room. The biological parents were eventually allowed supervised visits by DCYF.
The court documents show that during at least one supervised visit, the Easter Seals worker supervising the visit allowed the parents to be in a separate room to bathe N.B. and J.B. Concerned, T.C. reported the visits but were told that bathing the children was appropriate.
In July 2013, the Claremont police investigated N.B. and J.B.'s parents after witnesses postively identified them as having touched the genitals on two children - a young boy and a young girl - at a homeless shelter. The police notified the DCYF officer.
Later, the biological parents were granted unsupervised visits and police said the DCYF never contacted them about the other investigation.
In November 2013, a DCYF employee investigated and once again told the grandmother that the parents "are not bad parents," and that they would get the parents back with their kids, according to court documents, but after a month of N.B. was consistently holding her diaper area and saying "ow," T.C. reported in to DCYF that she feared sexual abuse. She was told the department would "look into it."
Later that month - without hearing back from the DYCF - the grandmother found J.B. rubbing a paintbrush against her genitals, and when she confronted her J.B. she screamed, "mommy and daddy do it - no they don't! don't tell, I'll get in trouble!"
Claremont police got involved again and the parents admitted to "violently and repeatedly" sexually abusing N.B., then 18-months-old, and J.B., then 4-years-old, during the supervised and unsupervised visits and videotaped the abuse 14 times.
On December 4, 2013, a formal interview was conducted where J.B. admitted to the sexual abuse performed on her by her father, while her mother would watch and assure them it was okay.
In the recordings, the videos show several occasions of the biological parents using vibrators, lubricant, various tools intended for sex, and their own genitals to sexually abuse the children. On several occasions the father penetrated the children anally and orally and would lick their genitals. In several of the videos you can hear the children expressing pain and the mother attempting to calm them down.
During the investigation, police said they confrtonted the DCYF supervisor about why unsupervised visits had been allowed, and were allegedly told that the DCYF had to "give these parents the opportunity to fail."
The parents pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child sexual abuse and production of child pornography in 2014 and were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Rilee said he is defending these families by saying all of these cases were "100% foreseeable and 100% avoidable," where he wants to prove that all of these children should never have been placed back in the care of their parents, pleading with the evidence from J.B. and N.B.'s case.
Rilee won a case appealed to the N.H. Supreme Court, which allowed him to file this lawsuit and the upcoming lawsuits despite a protection order issued by the Attorney General.