Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Seattle-June 29, 1998-A King County jury today found that the state was not liable for damages for its role in an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse in the Wenatchee area.  Two of the plaintiffs in the suit alleged that the Department of Social and Health Services and a Child Protective Services supervisor were liable for damages arising from the involvement of DSHS employees in the Wenatchee investigation conducted by local law enforcement officials. 

Prior to and during the trial, Judge Michael Donohue threw out all other claims against DSHS and dismissed claims against four other state employees (see attached chronology ). 

 "We appreciate the time and attention the jury gave to this case and are very pleased with the verdict," said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Freimund who defended the state in the suit.  "The state has a legal duty to investigate allegations of child abuse and we believe the facts in this case demonstrated that these state employees conducted themselves in good faith to protect the children under very difficult circumstances." 

As a normal standard of practice, the AG's Office and DSHS will review this case in detail.  "We recognize that when the state takes action to investigate a CPS complaint it has an impact on both the children and parents.  The Department strives to do the best job it can under the law to protect children," Freimund said.