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Sexually abused foster child awarded $1,000,000

May 1st, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

 

Florida lawmakers have approved a million dollar payment to a young woman sexually abused as a child while in state care. The Department of Children and Families knew the woman we’ll call LT was in the home of a sex offender when it closed her case.

By outward appearances, L .T. is a well adjusted married young mother of two. As a child, the Department of Children and Families placed her in her great aunt and uncles care.

The great uncle, Eddie Thomas, was convicted of a sex offense two years after LT arrived in the home. DCF did nothing.

“They closed my case after the sex offense” LT told us, just after the Senate approved her claims bill.

As a result, LT was physically and verbally abused from ages two to ten.

“Towards the end, I was sexually abused by my uncle. he was my blood uncle. I ran away from home.”

A decade ago, DCF didn’t go back into the home if someone had been convicted of a sex offense and check on the welfare of the child.

The policy changed after LT’s case came to light.

“I decided I didn’t want that to be who I am anymore. I didn’t want to be a victim. I wanted to be a survivor.”

Claims bills are few and far between. But State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto pushed her million dollar claim.”

“She highlighted that inconsistency in our process and how wrong that was. She was a very courageous girl” says Benacquisto.

L. T. is now going to school. She hopes to stop what happened to her from happening to other young women.

“My experience has given me insight into some of the things children are going through and it has also given me a passion to protect children” says L.T.

And the experience she’s had is not something you can learn from a textbook.

A Special Master in the case concluded it was foreseeable that leaving LT in her Uncles that it was more than likely she would be sexually abused. The Department of Children and Families did not contest the payment.

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