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Foster Home AbuseOur Work in the News

Lawsuit blames Oregon for foster child's sexual abuse

By September 2, 2009June 20th, 2020No Comments


PORTLAND, Ore. — A 19-year-old woman has filed a $5.25 million lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Human Services claiming she was sexually abused as a child after the agency placed her with her foster grandfather.

In the lawsuit, the woman accuses DHS of negligence for placing her with David Purcell, a man twice convicted and sent to prison on child rape charges.

Purcell was husband to the woman’s paternal grandmother, according to the lawsuit, filed by Portland attorney Kelly Clark.

The lawsuit alleges that DHS did not adequately investigate Purcell’s past and that the victim was “severely sexually abused” repeatedly from 1993 to 1997.

“(Purcell) repeatedly raped and molested her on scores of occasions when she was aged 5 through 9,” the suit alleged.

She reported the abuse when she was 10, according to the lawsuit.

Purcell was convicted of rape in 1980 and 1987. He was convicted for sexually assaulting the victim and remains in prison, Clark said.

“She doesn’t trust men, she doesn’t like to be touched.  By first glance, she may look like a normal 19-year-old, but the demons start to show. “ said Kelly Clark, the woman’s attorney.

The complaint names the Department of Human Services and two unidentified caseworkers as defendants.

On Wednesday, the state responded to the lawsuit with a statement.

“DHS has made improvements and is continuing to make improvements to keep children in foster care safe and to prevent the abuse and neglect of children in the first place,” the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.