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Suit: Abusive teen molested boy after foster home placement

Posted November 25

— A Missouri woman is suing a foster care contractor, alleging that her 3-year-old grandchild was molested by a teenager with a history of sexual abuse who was placed in her home.

The lawsuit claims that Missouri Mentor officials placed the teen with her in June 2014 even though she said she wouldn't care for a child with a sexual abuse history and then retaliated when she reported several months later that her grandchild had been abused, The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2gGRyXn ) reports. The suit, which was filed last week in Jackson County Circuit on behalf of the unidentified foster parent as well as the grandchild and the grandchild's mother, seeks unspecified damages.

"They did not tell her that this child had a history of sexual abuse and had moved from home to home because of the sexual abuse in the other foster homes," said Rebecca Randles, the Kansas City attorney who is representing the foster family. "And they absolutely knew."

Rachel Kramer, Missouri Mentor's state director, said in a statement that it's required to provide information about youths' past behavior and supervision requirements. Foster parents then must acknowledge in writing having received the information and that they understand their obligations, the statement said, adding that the case that is the focus of the lawsuit "wasn't any different."

After the grandson reported that the teenager had performed a sexual act on him while they were playing, the foster mother immediately contacted Missouri Mentor and had the teen removed from her home in Independence.

The lawsuit says Missouri Mentor then reported the foster mother to the state Department of Social Services for failing to keep the teen from other children. The lawsuit says a department investigation concluded that all allegations against the foster parent were unsubstantiated and that Missouri Mentor was aware of the teen's prior sexual abuse history but failed to alert the woman or the department.

The lawsuit also alleges that the company retaliated by refusing to answer her call about another child in her care who was having heart problems. The agency also refused to place another child in her care, the lawsuit says.

Kramer said in an email that "as mandated reporters, Missouri Mentor is required to notify the appropriate authorities of suspected abuse or neglect involving those we serve and/or our foster parents."

The Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Department of Social Services' Children's Division said they don't comment on pending litigation.

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