in the news
If you or anyone you know have any
information about these individuals or
contact Lori, in confidence.
September 5, 2013 - Lawsuit filed by Atty Lori Watson in this case against A World for Children
September 6, 2013
A couple who say their daughter was repeatedly sexually abused in a foster home in Goliad before they adopted her filed a lawsuit Thursday against the foster parents, claiming they failed to prevent the abuse and didn't report it as required by law.
The suit, filed in Williamson County, also names A World for Children, a Round Rock-based child-placing agency that's licensed by the state and oversees hundreds of foster homes in Texas. One is owned by foster parents Mike and Brenda Whitfield.
The couple allege that the Whitfields and A World for Children committed negligence and fraud.
The couple and the minor child, referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Doe and Jane Doe, respectively, are asking for more than $1 million in damages, according to the suit in state district court.
The suit claims prior allegations of abuse in the Whitfield home weren't disclosed to the adoptive parents, even though they'd specifically asked to not be presented with children with such backgrounds.
When child-placing agency staffers and others were asked by the couple prior to the adoption if the girl and her two siblings had experienced any sex abuse allegations, they said no, the suit states.
“They were seriously misled,” said Lori Watson, an attorney for the couple. “They took these three children home and made them a permanent part of their lives, thinking there were no issues with sexual abuse. A lot of emotional and mental harm came to this couple because of the fraud and misrepresentation.”
A World for Children, which has more than a dozen branches around the state, including one in San Antonio, is licensed and regulated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, but the state agency isn't named in the suit.
Officials with DFPS declined to comment.
When contacted for comment, the main office of A World for Children directed all calls to the agency's attorney in Dallas. She was out until Monday and couldn't comment.
The Whitfields also couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
The couple's lawsuit comes amid increased scrutiny of the foster care system in Texas.
Last week, a federal judge paved the way for a class-action challenge to Texas' system of caring for abused and neglected children, even as the state recently began a long-awaited and vaunted “foster care redesign.”
The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of some 12,000 children in permanent foster care in Texas, claims the state violates their constitutional rights by not providing adequate oversight, specifically because it fails to hire enough caseworkers to ensure their safety and well-being.
In the suit filed Thursday, the girl and her brother had left the foster home and moved into their adoptive parents' home in September 2011.
Less than a month later, the girl told them that while she was living in the Whitfield home she had been sexually abused by an older male foster child, according to the suit.
It claims the girl at least twice told her foster parents she had been sexually abused; neither instance was reported to law enforcement.
The foster parents contacted Child Protective Services after one of her outcries, and the agency conducted an investigation, the result of which isn't mentioned in the lawsuit.
A World for Children reportedly was contacted about a second outcry, but staffers didn't contact CPS or police, the suit claims.
“This child was abused numerous times over a four-year period,” Watson said. “Yet the assailant remained in the home and the child didn't get the necessary care she needed. Now she's going to have to have intensive therapy for a long time to try to deal with the years of abuse.”
The male foster child later pleaded no contest to five felony counts related to the sexual abuse of three children at the foster home. He received 10 years of probation.
The girl's brother also said he was sexually abused by the same perpetrator, as well as by a second boy who lived in the foster home.
Both adopted children also said they had themselves molested other children while living in the foster home, the suit claims.
Watson, a Dallas-based lawyer who focuses on cases involving sex-abuse victims, said the lawsuit is meant to send a message.
“This is something that needs to be taken very seriously,” she said. “Two of the children doing the assaulting had prior sexual issues. The whole system needs to be looked at more carefully when you're putting children with histories of sexual abuse into homes where you have multiple children of different ages and only limited supervision coming from two parents, one or both who might work.”
Only one child, another daughter who had lived in a separate foster home, remains with the couple. The brother was placed in another adoptive home.
The girl named in the suit now lives in a long-term residential care facility.
Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje ,
,Social Services Reporter,San Antonio Express-News
Alfonso Madrid, Jesuit Priest - CASE SETTLED JULY 11, 2013
August 26th - Press Release - New Victim of Fr. Alfonso Madrid, Jesuit priest, who was at:
San Felipe in Albuquerque 1961-1966
Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Antonio 1966-1970
Sacred Heart in El Paso 1970- 1982
August 24, 2013 - Another alleged sexual abuse victim linked to a former El Paso priest has filed suit, said Lori Watson, a lawyer in Dallas.
"Another victim came forward who was also sexually abused by (the Rev.) Alfonso Madrid," Watson said in a statement. "This plaintiff was 8 years old when he was sexually abused by Madrid at Sacred Heart Church in the El Paso (Catholic) Diocese in 1974-1975." (source El Paso Times)More
regain both my self confidence and my courage to face the past and come forward to make those responsible answer for their crimes. When I was working with Lori she also did a wonderful job of keeping the process of my settlement moving forward and with as little stress as possible on me. I truly appreciate everything Lori Watson has done for both myself and the many others that she has helped. I would highly recommend Lori Watson to anyone who needs someone on their side."
I never told a soul, because of the shame I felt and the embarrassment that it would cause my family. The damage I was doing to my wife and children was considerable and I could not bring myself to explain to them the abuse I suffered at the hands of the "men of God".
When I finally met Ms. Watson I knew I could trust her. She was a God send. I explained my abuse to her and she understood and expressed that he believed me. With the patience of a true saint, she said everything was going to start to be O.K. I also had the courage to confide in my wife of more than twenty years, and she finally understood my paranoia of the Catholic church. Ms. Watson and her team soon had me on the road to recovery. I thank God that Ms. Watson was on my side. I now have peace in me. I cannot put my name on this because of my public persona, but if you with to start the healing process, please consider Lori Watson and her team. They truly are angels and they are on our side."