Lawsuit says state had knowledge but failed to act on abusive foster parent | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lawsuit says state had knowledge but failed to act on abusive foster parent

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 11:56 AM

CHARLIE GARRETSON
  • CHARLIE GARRETSON
A civil lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Fort Smith says officials at the state Human Services Department knew about allegations of abuse of foster children by Van Buren truck driver Charlie Garretson but failed to act.

Benji Hardy reports on the lawsuit for the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network.

Last week, Garretson was sentenced to life in prison for raping foster children, often abused on interstate truck trips. Authorities believe at least 14 children were abused after being placed in the Garretson home over a six-year span. The lawsuit includes his wife, Lisa, who was not charged in the case, in the recitation of those alleged to have been negligent.

The lawsuit was filed by seven sexual assault victims, including one who testified in the criminal case.

“Arkansas DHS put me and many others in the hands of a monster,” she said at the hearing. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes, who presided over the hearing, commented that the case constituted an “extreme failure on the part of the Department of Human Services” and said of Lisa Garretson, “if she didn’t know what was going on, she should have known.” Holmes was also assigned the civil suit filed Monday.

The plaintiffs’ allegations of DHS negligence go further. Their suit alleges that DHS approved the Garretsons to be foster parents despite DHS substantiating a report one year earlier that Clarence Garretson had sexually assaulted two children at knifepoint.

The suit also includes information that the child whose 2016 complaint of rape triggered an FBI investigation into Garretson was the daughter of a woman who became pregnant while she was living as a foster child in Garretson’s household from 2000 to 2004.
The suit names two former DHS directors and six other DHS employees, including a former county director.

The complaint alleges that the DHS caseworkers and the county director "obtained actual knowledge" that at least one of the children in the Garretson home was sexually assaulted, but took no action.

Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • At least two sites under consideration for immigrant housing in Arkansas

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson revealed yesterday that a second unnamed location, in addition to Little Rock Air Force Base, was being considered for immigrant detention facilities.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Military lawyers drafted for border immigration duty

    Rachel Maddow reported on MSNBC last night that the Justice Department had requested — and the Defense Department agreed — military lawyers to handle the crush of immigration work on the border. How about adding some Arkies on the temporary duty list?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation