A new lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court lays out an ugly case against the Oregon Department of Human Services, which has been under fire for the past year for failing to ensure the safety of some foster children.
The lawsuit says that a year ago, a 14-year-old girl was rescued from inhuman living conditions imposed on her by state-appointed foster parents.
Filing as an anonymous plaintiff, A.A., as she is known in the filing, alleges her foster parents routinely subjected her to physical, sexual and psychological abuse. She was placed with the foster family in 2010, when she was 9 years old.
The lawsuit alleges the family she was placed with had numerous sexual assault complaints filed against them over the years. DHS, the lawsuit claims, should have known better—the foster father in the family with whom A.A. was placed with allegedly had a history of sexually abusing another child who had been in his care.
The alleged sexual abuse continued for years, unchecked by DHS or Oregon's Child Protective Services, during which time five more sexual abuse complaints were filed against A.A.'s foster family, and not once did a DHS representative move to remove her from the care of her abusive foster family, according to the lawsuit.
It was, in fact, Jamaican authorities who intervened on A.A.'s behalf.
In May 2015, A.A. was taken out of school by her foster father, and relocated for a "vacation" to Jamaica. While in Jamaica, her foster father allegedly continued to abuse her sexually, emotionally and physically. A.A. was deprived of food and drink, she was forced to sleep on a floor without bedding, berated and told she was "the devil," and that her treatment was her own fault.
The abuse came to the attention of Jamaican authorities, who acted swiftly and intervened on A.A.'s behalf, according to the lawsuit. She was cared for by Jamaican authorities, before being transferred to the care of Oregon's DHS personnel.
A.A. was met at the Portland airport by social workers who have helped her reassimilate into society, but the lawsuit says she continues to suffer from the physical and mental trauma she endured.
Her foster father, Dwight Reid, was arrested in August 2015, and charged with four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree.
Reid could not be reached for comment. Oregon Department of Justice spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson says the state does not comment on pending lawsuits.