A woman who was raped and made pregnant twice by her mother’s boyfriend by the age of 13 was awarded $3 million in a settlement from Washington state.
The woman, now in her 30s, claims that the state’s Child Protective Services did nothing to stop the blatant abuse that took place 20 years ago, despite their knowledge of it.
The victim’s mother’s boyfriend began molesting soon after he came into their home when she was 9 years old. By 11, she was pregnant. Noticing her weight gain, the boyfriend demanded she take a pregnancy test.
“He caught on and had me take a pregnancy test and then it was his panic of, ‘OK, now what?’” the woman described. “He told me, ‘Tell your mom it was a boy at school.’”
The victim’s attorney, Michael Pfau, said that the CPS neglected to investigate that crucial tip-off in 1995.
“You’re barely 12; you’re impregnated when you’re 11. The question should be, who’s the father?” said Pfau. “Then when you receive a preposterous story about an 11 year-old boy on the other side of the state, it’s time to start looking at what’s going on in the home.”
In fact, the DPS had taken note of the rapist’s “possible predatory nature,” according to KCPQ. The victim’s older sister also warned caseworkers that he may be abusive. But even after the victim’s second pregnancy, no one asked her if she’d been raped.
“No one ever asked me if it was him or anything more. I was never pulled away separately or given that safety,” said the victim.
When caseworkers followed up to check on the baby after the victim's first pregnancy, they noted that the boyfriend was controlling and that the situation “raised questions,” but the case was not pursued further.
The victim only moved away from her abusive home at the age of 27, when a friend she’d met online helped her understand what had happened to her.
The victim has now received a $3 million settlement from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services for her continued menal health care, though the agency denied any wrongdoing on its part. The abuser was never charged due to the state’s 12-year statute of limitations.
“The state failed me,” the victim said, “and fails kids all the time. Something has to be done to stop it.”