A.K. & K.M. v. State of Washington DSHS

Case type:  Sexual and Physical Abuse, Government Liability 
Award:  $2 million Settlement
Attorneys:  Jack Connelly, Lincoln Beauregard, Crystal Manring

Case Summary

Plffs A.K. and K.M. were taken into state care at ages two and one, respectively, and placed under the foster care of Def.s David and Anne Osborn. In Def.s home, the two young girls experienced extreme physical, sexual and emotional abuse throughout their childhood. Def. DSHS negligently licensed Def.s Osborn as Plffs foster parents, and negligently placed Plffs in the care of the Def.s. Def DSHS then failed to monitor the placement and failed to follow applicable guidelines, standards, and requirements to check on Plaintiffs’ welfare to determine whether the placement was working or whether Plaintiffs were being properly cared for.

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Case Details

Beginning when A.K. was approximately age six, Defendant David Osbon began sexually assaulting, abusing, and ultimately raping Plaintiff. This continued over several years during the remainder of her time with the foster family. Defendant David Osbon forced her to look at pornography and stimulate him manually before engaging in sexual intercourse. This continued and the sexual activity increased. When A.K. was approximately age eight, Defendant David Osbon began ordering her to shower with him and forced her to dress and walk around the house wearing only his wife’s underwear. Defendant David Osbon physically beat A.K. and threatened her not to tell anyone what was occurring. She had no one to turn to, was not being monitored by DSHS caseworkers and learned not to speak to anyone regarding the ongoing beatings, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Beginning when K.M. was approximately age two, Defendant David Osbon began sexually assaulting and molesting K.M. Defendant David Osbon fondled K.M., rubbed his penis against K.M.’s vagina, sexually assaulted K.M. and sexually molested K.M. on numerous occasions. This continued over many years while K.M. was in the foster home. When K.M. was approximately eight, Defendant David Osbon began sneaking into K.M.’s bedroom after others in the home were asleep and sexually assaulting and molesting her. Defendant Ann Osbon was aware that K.M. was being sexually assaulted and molested by her husband, Defendant David Osbon but allowed Defendant David Osbon to continue to sexually assault and molest K.M. K.M. had no one to turn to and was not being monitored by DSHS caseworkers. A.K. and K.M.’s foster parents intentionally emotionally abused the Plaintiffs. Defendant David and Ann Osbon continually deprived A.K. of food, and forced her to eat moldy food and food unfit for consumption. If A.K. vomited up a portion of her meal, Defendants forced her to eat her own regurgitation. The Defendants forced A.K. and K.M. to eat animal food out of a cat dish. The Defendants extorted money from K.M.’s family members so K.M.’s family could visit her. Defendants physically beat A.K. and K.M. regularly, including striking them with hard objects such as fire pokers, wood, and broomsticks. At one point the police were called after a particularly vicious attack by Defendant Ann Osbon, who stabbed A.K. in the throat and head. When the police arrived, Defendant Ann Osbon lied to the police stating that A.K. was unstable and that she had inflicted the injuries on herself. Defendant Osbons additionally failed to provide required medical attention and care. For example on one occasion when A.K. broke her arm at a school function, Defendants denied her medical attention. After a few days, school authorities noticed that A.K. was unable to move her arm and that it was not healing. They sent her to a doctor to be treated, and he placed her arm in a sling and asked her to come back in with her guardian so that he could set her arm. Upon hearing this, Defendant Ann Osbon ripped her arm from the sling and physically beat her. A.K. did not receive any further treatment for her arm. During the time A.K. was living with Defendants David and Ann Osbon, Defendants locked her in a small room. She was not allowed to leave this room, and was forced to stay in it for days at a time with her own feces and urine building up in the corner. The social workers employed by Defendant DSHS and charged with monitoring the care of Plaintiffs did nothing to supervise, review, check, or otherwise monitor their placement. This allowed the abuse to occur, increase, continue and worsen over time. DSHS employees negligently allowed Plaintiffs to be removed from the State of Washington and taken to Arizona by their abusive foster parents. The abuse, molestation, and rape continued in Arizona. This extreme abuse was permitted to occur over such a long period of time because DSHS employees failed to monitor and review Plaintiffs’ placement. Plaintiffs were abandoned with no assistance or supervision by DSHS employees.