Settlement Reached In Lawsuit Against County CYS

August 22, 2018 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County officials have reached a settlement with a mother who alleged child services caseworkers put her two children into a home where they were physically and sexually abused, according to a filing Tuesday. In a letter filed in federal court Tuesday, Wilkes-Barre attorney Shelley L. Centini said the mother, identified in the complaint only as M.J., has reached a settlement with the county and attorneys are working on the necessary paperwork. The filing does not specify the amount of the settlement, and Centini did not immediately return a message seeking additional information. Luzerne County Chief Solicitor Romilda Crocamo said attorneys for Concern Inc., a contracted foster care placement service, took the lead in the case and that the matter was settled at no cost to the county. The complaint filed last August alleged the children, then aged 3 and 17 months, began getting injured and making disturbing allegations about a teenage boy after moving into a mobile home in Ashley and county officials did nothing to intervene despite knowing about his troubled past. “(The boy’s) abuse history was so serious, complex, and well-known that a non-party child behavioral health agency used his case file for training its staff,” the complaint alleged. The mother alleged after being placed into foster parent Kathy Ryan’s care in May 2014, the children began appearing for visits in dirty clothes, with cuts and bruises. The 3-year-old girl also told her mother that the teenage boy had been sexually assaulting her, the complaint alleged. Luzerne County Children and Youth Services previously sought dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing the allegations that caseworker Jesse Goshert and supervisor Maryann Rambus failed to act are “essentially unfounded without any factual support.” U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo in April dismissed one claim against the county, but otherwise rejected the county’s effort to get the lawsuit dismissed. In his opinion, Caputo wrote the allegations Goshert and Rambus placed the children in a home with a child who had a known history of sexual abuse “are more than sufficient to state a plausible claim of conscience shocking conduct by Goshert and Rambus.” The lawsuit was seeking unspecified damages to be determined at trial. Contact the writer: jhalpin@citizensvoice.com 570-821-2058