Woman Sues State Over Pierce County Foster-Care Abuse

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The sister of a young woman who was paid $1.3 million to settle her claims of abuse in state foster care has sued the state, saying she, too, suffered sexual assaults and beatings while a ward of Washington.

The woman, now 20 and living in Moses Lake, seeks unspecified damages in her lawsuit, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

The woman, identified in court records as L.R., contends she was subjected to myriad abuses in three foster homes in Pierce County after being made a ward of the state in 1998.

She says state officials failed to properly vet the foster homes and ignored warning signs of abuse at each stop, including a stay with Jose and Juanita Miranda of Tacoma.

The Mirandas ultimately were found to have systematically abused foster children in their care, and Jose Miranda was convicted of multiple sex crimes against foster kids.

The state in 2012 agreed to pay $11 million to six people who had the misfortune to be placed with the couple.

The latest lawsuit contends L.R. was exposed to “physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, neglect and … intolerable living conditions.”

The complaint was filed on her behalf by Yakima attorney Vito de la Cruz, who also represented her sister.

It is the policy of the Department of Social and Health Services to refrain from commenting on pending litigation, and state lawyers have not yet formally responded to the newly filed lawsuit.

In her sister’s case, state lawyers argued the perpetrators of the abuse, not state social workers, were responsible for any damages. But the state agreed to settle the case in April, court records show.

To read the article in the News Tribune, click here.