(Yahoo News) — A 3-week-old girl was sexually assaulted and battered in an Ocala area foster home, and child welfare officials could have prevented it from happening, according to a lawsuit filed last week in the Marion County Courthouse.
Both Kids Central, the Ocala nonprofit agency charged with managing child welfare in the region, and The Centers, which offers case management services, knew that a 16-year-old boy living in the home had sexually assaulted other young children in the past.
The foster parents — identified as “the Kleins” — had set up video cameras around the house to monitor the boy’s activities. And it was those cameras that caught him abusing the infant girl for more than 20 minutes in March 2019.
“This tragedy never should have happened,” said Stacie Schmerling, an attorney with Justice for Kids in Fort Lauderdale, who filed the suit against Kids Central and The Centers. “The family never should have been licensed to care for these vulnerable, non-verbal children.”