The adoptive parents of a girl raped by her biological parents during what was supposed to be a supervised visit inside the Trumbull County Children Services building in 2011 have sued the agency and three employees for $3 million.
The agency’s board, supervisors Marilyn Pape and Robin Moon and caseworker Jessica Watkins, were all named in the suit brought by attorney Michael Rossi. The names of the adoptive parents, who told WKBN.COM in January they would seek a lawsuit against CSB once their adoption was finalized, were not included in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Youngstown.
WKBN.COM previously reported Watkins as the caseworker at the time the girl, who was nine months old, was raped by parents Cody Beemer and Felicia Banks Beemer, both of whom pleaded guilty to the crimes and were sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility for raping the girl and an 18-month-old nephew.
Moon was Watkins’ immediate supervisor, who was later suspended without pay for 30 days for backdating records in the case after rape allegations surfaced. Pape was Moon’s supervisor.
Moon also gave Watkins a favorable performance evaluation in January that showed, in Moon’s estimation, an improvement over her last evaluation April 11, 2011, about two weeks before the rape occurred, the WKBN.COM investigation found.
All three still are employed with CSB in the same positions. Pape makes $64,096, Moon $52,788 and Watkins $32,085.
Both rapes were captured on a cell phone video camera.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Michael D. Rossi, alleges because CSB knew Cody Beemer was a juvenile sex offender for raping his 3-year-old cousin when he was 14 and that Beemer’s father had sexually abused his sister, they should be held responsible for failing to protect the girl during the supervised visitation.
The lawsuit also says Felicia Banks Beemer was “dim-witted” and “subservient to the will of the baby’s natural father.”
“The baby’s mother was dim-witted, suffering from a number of mental health issues, having repeatedly had her parental rights involuntarily terminated; subservient to the will of the baby’s natural father; and a victim of his domestic violence, facts of which the defendants were aware,” the complaints says.
The lawsuit alleges Watkins, Moon and Pape should be held responsible for relaxing supervision during the visits from having a supervisor in the room to 15-minute checks, which, according to some records and interviews obtained by WKBN.COM were not always made.
The girl suffered a “deprivation of liberty without due process, a Fifth Amendment violation, as a result, the complaint says.
A WKBN.COM investigation of hundreds of pages of documents in the case showed the CSB supervisors overseeing the girl’s case forced caseworkers to back-file records after they learned of a pending state probe of the agency and routinely told criminal investigators that the biological father’s child sex offender past was a “secondary concern” when making a case plan for the child.
Prosecutors presented evidence of child endangering to a Trumbull County grand jury against two CSB employees in the case. The grand jury rejected criminal charges.