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June 21, 2012 permalink
An Oregon family whose daughter was interrogated without authority took their case all the was to the US supreme court. After an unfavorable ruling there, they have settled their case for $300,000. This is surely less than their legal bills. The case resembles that of Dorian Baxter, who won his case against Durham CAS, but collected less than his legal costs and wound up bankrupt.
Settlement Ends Closely Watched Bend Case
Suit Over Abuse Investigation Went to U.S. Supreme Court
BEND, Ore. -- A 9-year-old Bend court case triggered by a child abuse investigation which went to the U.S. Supreme Court has ended quietly with the state paying a $300,000 out-of-court settlement, the family’s attorney said Thursday.
Oregon Department of Justice spokesman Tony Green confirmed the settlement was reached May 18 after a settlement conference.
The case arose in 2003 when a Bend man, Nimrod Greene, was arrested for suspected fondling of a young boy unrelated to him. The boy’s parents told police they suspected Greene of molesting his own 9-year-old daughter, referred to in court documents as “S.G.”
The police told the Oregon Department of Human Services, which assigned caseworker Bob Camreta to assess the girl’s safety.
Several days later, Camreta and a sheriff’s deputy, James Alford, went to the young girl’s school, took her out of class and interviewed her about the allegations, without a warrant or parental consent.
The child eventually told police she had been abused, and Greene was indicted and stood trial, but the jury failed to reach a verdict and the charges were dismissed.
Greene’s wife, Sarah, sued the two investigators, leading to a 2-1 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the removal of the child from class and subsequent examination of Greene’s two children at the KIDS Center violated the girls’ and mother’s constitutional rights.
After hearing arguments in early 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit ruling, but did not ruling on the merits because there was no “live controversy,” as the girl was nearly 18, had moved away and thus made the case moot.
“This closes an unfortunate chapter in the family’s life,” said the Greenes’ attorney, Mikel Miller of Bend, who receives a portion of the settlement to pay legal expenses in the lengthy case.
Miller said despite the very difficult years faced by the family, they “do have the satisfaction” that agencies changed their policies and procedures in the wake of the Ninth Circuit ruling.
“They just couldn’t believe this could happen to people,” he said. “The right of a parent to accompany her children during the highly intrusive physical examination at the KIDS Center was violated by the state.”