WARNING: Distressing. A baby was raped by a teenager in a foster home where the boy was known to be sexually aggressive, a lawsuit has alleged.
A three-week-old baby girl was raped by a teenage boy at a foster care home where the responsible adults knew he had previously sexually assaulted young children, a lawsuit alleges.
Video cameras at the foster home in Florida’s Ocala area, set up by foster parents “the Kleins” recorded the 14-year-old boy abusing the infant for more than 20 minutes, USA Today reported on Thursday.
The teenager sexually penetrated the infant girl in the March 2019 incident and medics confirmed she was sexually abused, an investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families found.
“This tragedy never should have happened,” said Stacie Schmerling, a lawyer with Justice for Kids in Fort Lauderdale, which is suing Kids Central and The Centres, the agencies managing the foster home.
“The family never should have been licensed to care for these vulnerable, non-verbal children.”
A few years later, the boy’s younger adopted brother spoke “about his ‘butt’ and things (his older brother) would do, indicating the possibility that (the boy) was sexually abusing the younger child or minimally being sexually inappropriate,” the suit states.
The teenager’s biological mother exposed him to pornography and performed sex in front of him and may have sexualised him, the suit claims.
Kids Central, the non-profit organisation managing child welfare in the area, failed to get psychological evaluations for the teen boy, according to the suit.
It also alleges that Kids Central and The Centres, which provides case management services, sent vulnerable children to the Kleins’ home even though the teenager had psychological issues.
The infant girl probably “suffered at least some pain, if not a tremendous amount, and 20 minutes is an awfully long time to an infant,” a Gainesville paediatric neuropsychologist, Thomas Dikel, told the newspaper.
“What she was going through was horrific, terrifying. For all she knew, she was going to die,” Dr Dikel said.
Though the girl was very young and may not remember everything about the incident, “the impact is definitely going to be there,“ Dr Dikel said.
“The child’s brain develops to survive the environment in which it is placed. It needs to know what to expect from the world, whether it’s a safe or dangerous place,” he said.
The teenager faced charges and was prosecuted.
His sentence is not public because he is a juvenile.