SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A claim presented today to Sacramento County accuses County authorities of ignoring signs of abuse inflicted for years on a teenage boy who escaped from a suburban home in Tracy, Calif. where he was imprisoned and tortured.
Before drawing national media attention for his escape from captivity in December of 2008, the teenage boy named Kyle quietly suffered years of abuse that left a trail of evidence unheeded by social workers with Sacramento County's Child Protective Services (CPS).
The claim brought on Kyle's behalf by attorney John N. Demas of the Sacramento firm Demas & Rosenthal, LLP alleges that evidence of chronic abuse was mishandled, dismissed or simply overlooked by CPS workers through years of negligent and incompetent investigation. Full information is available at www.demasandrosenthal.com.
The claim seeks as yet unspecified damages from Sacramento County CPS for breach of mandatory public entity duties, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In addition to CPS, the claim also accuses the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department of negligence. The department did nothing for nearly a year after receiving a report of Kyle being beaten by his longtime caretaker with a martial arts stick in June of 2006. Authorities finally took Kyle into protective custody in April of 2007.
"We're prepared to prove that CPS completely abandoned its legal responsibility to protect Kyle not once, but repeatedly, after failing to act on multiple reports and substantial evidence of child abuse," said Demas. "Ultimately, this is serving notice that the CPS system is badly broken and needs to be immediately fixed."
Kyle's tragic saga drew widespread media attention in December 2008 after he escaped a Tracy, Calif. home where his caregiver and two other adults had held him captive. According to allegations in the lawsuit, Kyle's ordeal began more than seven years before in Sacramento.
After Kyle was signed over to Caren Ramirez in 2001 in Sacramento, there was allegedly no attempt by CPS, as required by law, to substantiate Ramirez's claim of being related to the children, search for appropriate and related caregivers, or ensure that Ramirez had pursued proper legal channels to assume guardianship. Neither did CPS notify the court or file necessary paperwork.
From 2001 until he escaped in 2008, Kyle suffered unfathomable beatings, deprivation of basic needs, and torture. The abuse included physical battery with sticks and electrical cords, having bleach poured over him and being forced to stand in a corner for hours at a time. Evidence of this abuse was periodically tracked in CPS' internal records and reports. During this time, Sacramento County CPS workers received reports of abuse or neglect of Kyle and his half brother Austin on a near constant basis. But at nearly every turn, until 2007, the reports were dismissed as unfounded and Ramirez was even praised as a good parental figure, despite having no legal right to being the boys' guardian.
Although Caren Ramirez is now serving a long prison sentence, CPS has not been held accountable for failing to prevent or stop the ongoing abuse. The current claim alleges that CPS workers departed from established, legal procedures meant to safeguard against children being left in the care of inappropriate and unrelated guardians, and provides multiple examples to substantiate these allegations.
"This is a case where a local government agency's inability to perform its duty, for whatever reason, extended far beyond incompetence and into creating a situation where a child's life was endangered for years on end," said Demas. "CPS' function is to protect children. Instead of protecting Kyle, they failed him. We can only hope this claim will help bring changes to CPS and prevent similar situations from occurring in the future."
Formed in 1993, Demas & Rosenthal LLP is based in Sacramento, California. The firm handles a broad range of personal injury and civil litigation cases throughout California. For more information, visit online at www.demasandrosenthal.com.
SOURCE Demas & Rosenthal LLP