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Alaska justices rule victim can sue state’s foster care

May 25, 2017 GMT

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court has decided a woman who was sexually abused by her foster brother in 2012 can sue the state Office of Children’s Services.

The Supreme Court published its decision Friday, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. A message seeking comment from the Office of Children’s Services wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

The judge decided her lawsuit against the state’s foster care system had not been filed in time under a law that sets a two-year maximum time limit for civil liability cases. But the five Supreme Court justices disagreed.

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“We conclude a genuine factual dispute exists concerning when (the victim) discovered information suggesting that OCS had played a role in allowing her to be abused,” Justice Joel Bolger wrote.

The court sent the case back to the same judge for consideration of legal issues raised by the justices.

The OCS said it denies allegations that it negligently failed to protect the woman.

“Based upon the information known then to OCS, the home in question appeared to be safe, supportive, and loving,” the agency said in an emailed statement.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because it generally does not name victims of sexual abuse. The foster brother is not being named because doing so could lead to her identification.

He pleaded guilty to the child sexual abuse of the woman, other foster siblings and a neighbor’s child and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012.

The woman has said she learned at his first criminal court hearing that the state Office of Children’s Services knew he was dangerous and had ordered her foster parents to keep him away from the house.

She has claimed the state was negligent in its monitoring of the home of her foster brother and in its investigation of abuse.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com