Florida Agencies Settle To Avoid Rape Suits
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 20, 2005
PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA--Last week, the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), and the Children's Home Society of Florida (CHS) agreed to pay a woman with developmental disabilities who was raped as a teenager while in a state-licensed group home.
The woman, identified only as "Dorothy" to protect her privacy, was sent to a group home in 1999 where a caregiver repeatedly coaxed her into sex acts when she was 15 years old. That caregiver, James M. Carver, pleaded guilty in 2003 to lewd sexual battery of a minor and lewd conduct involving a minor, and was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison.
Dorothy became pregnant and had to fight to keep her daughter, who is now 4 years old. She sued both DCF and CHS. Her trial was scheduled to begin on June 14, when it was announced that DCF agreed to pay her $500,000. The next day, CHS, which was responsible for monitoring the group home, agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount.
Her attorney said she now lives in a supervised community setting, where she is learning life and parenting skills. The money will be used to help her raise the child.
Media coverage of Dorothy's case was overshadowed by that of another young woman, identified in the news as "J.D.S.". The woman, who has autism, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy, was raped and impregnated by the husband of her Orlando group home's operator. J.D.S.' story made national news when Governor Jeb Bush tried unsuccessfully to appoint a guardian to protect the fetus from a possible abortion. J.D.S.' guardian decided to let that pregnancy continue to full term.
"Disabled woman, DCF settle lawsuit" (Orlando Sentinel)
"Disabled woman settles suit" (Orlando Sentinel)