Easter Seals seeks dismissal in DCYF lawsuit
Says family of abused children do not have claim
MANCHESTER — Easter Seals of New Hampshire wants to have the adoptive parents of two girls suing Easter Seals, the Division of Children, Youth & Families, and CASA of New Hampshire dismissed from the case.
The adoptive parents, known by initials T.C. and D.C., filed the lawsuit last year alleging that DCYF, CASA, and Easter Seals allowed visitation between their adopted daughters and the biological parents during which the biological parents repeatedly, and sometimes violently, sexually assaulted the girls. Both children were under the age of five when the assaults took place.
The biological parents were eventually arrested and pleaded guilty after police found video recording the made of the assaults. The parents are currently serving life terms in prison.
The lawsuit claims that at least one Easter Seals employee allowed the biological parents to have “bath time” with the girls during visits. The girls were assaulted during these “baths,” the lawsuit states.
Attorney for Easter Seals, Megan Carrier, filed motions last week seeking to have the adopted parents dismissed from the lawsuit. Attorneys for the state, representing DCYF, already had a motion seeking the adopted parents dismissal denied by Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson.
Carrier’s motion claims that Easter Seals is not responsible for the claims that the adopted parents make in the lawsuit, such as claiming emotional distress as a result of the abuse of the two children,
The adopted parents claim that they told representatives for DCYF, CASA, and Easter Seals that the suspected the children were being abused during the visitations, and those concerns were never investigated. Further, the lawsuit claims that DCYF and CASA representatives were made aware of a criminal investigation into the biological father, in which he was accused of sexually assaulting another child, and yet the overnight visitations continued.
Carrier also wants to keep information about Easter Seals employees protected. T.C. and D.C’s attorney, Rul Rilee, is seeking files from Easter Seals about their handling of the case. According to Carrier’s motion, at least eight current and former Easter Seals employees were involved and she does not want their names and other information to be made public, partially out of fear for their safety.
“(T)he subject matter of this case is likely to incite emotions among the public with respect to any individuals involved, particularly individuals who are claimed to have been negligent,” Carrier writes. “It is not unreasonable to be concerned that some members of the public may feel the need to take matters into their own hands by contacting, harassing, or otherwise interacting with the individuals involved.”
Rilee declined to comment on the motions. He is expected to respond in court next week.