Jurors awarded $45.4 million Thursday to a girl who suffered two years of sexual abuse in an El Monte home where county social workers left her despite evidence showing that an accused molester lived in the house.
The Department of Children and Family Services, jurors found, ignored warning signs of potential abuse and failed to tell police what they knew, leaving the then-7-year-old to be molested by at least four men whom her mother invited into the home.
Jurors deliberated four and half hours before deciding to make the massive award. They attributed 45% of the blame for the girl’s ordeal to DCFS, a finding that requires the county to pay more than $20 million of the verdict.
“She endured two years of sex abuse you cannot imagine,” said David Ring, an attorney for the girl’s father, who sued the agency and the perpetrators on behalf of his daughter. “The Department of Children and Family Services is the last line of defense for defenseless children, and they walked away here and let her be abused.”
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