Canton, GA asked in Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Georgia

Q: I was drugged and raped in foster home. I was ignored by child protection services what are my legal rights to justice

I reported the abuse to Cherokee County Georgia's child protection services caseworker. Who ignored it. I ran away short time later in fear for my safety because the caseworker told the foster parent I told her about the abuse,which got worse because of that. I was punished and thrown in juvenile detention center for 3 months after running away to Philadelphia and they helped me.

1 Lawyer Answer
Ken Shigley
Ken Shigley
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: Foster parents are considered state employees for purposes of the Georgia State Tort Claims Act. OCGA § 50–21–22(7). However, OCGA § 50-21-24, provides that, "The state shall have no liability for losses resulting from: ... (7) Assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, or interference with contractual rights." There is a case holding that the state did not have liability for sexual assaults by other types of state employees. Davis v. Standifer,

275 Ga.App. 769, 621 S.E.2d 852 (2005)(sexual assault by state trooper in traffic stop). However, allegations arising from officer's alleged sexual assault were sufficient to support claim against officer in his individual capacity for sexual battery, sexual assault, and related claims under Civil Rights Act. Whether the state's Risk Management Division would indemnify a foster parent for a sexual assault claim for which state government does not have liability is a separate question. I doubt it.

While I doubt that the State Tort Claims Act would apply, to preserve your rights under that law, you would need to send a notice of claim in writing and shall be mailed by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or delivered personally to and a receipt obtained from the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services. In addition, a copy shall be delivered personally to or mailed by first-class mail to the state government entity, the act or omissions of which are asserted as the basis of the claim. OCGA § 50-21-26.

I would also consider the potential for the foster parent's homeowners insurance policy to cover this. However, homeowners' policies always include exclusions for intentional acts and criminal acts. Sometimes it is possible to weave around such exclusions by finding out what insurance company is involved, getting an exemplar copy of that company's homeowners policies, and craft the claim to work through the language. I have done that in a case in which the teenage son of a homeowner fired a gun at a neighbor's house, killing a child inside. Under the specific language of that insurance policy, we did that by alleging that the shooter negligently discharged the gun and did not intend to hit the house or hurt anyone. It would take a superhuman linguistic backflip to get a positive result on insurance coverage for a sexual assault on a foster child.

I wish you well.

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