A federal lawsuit alleges that Kansas officials covered up the alleged abuse of a child at the hands of her father, a former state employee.
The suit, filed on behalf of the child Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., does not name the alleged abuser.
The allegations in the new suit have been previously litigated in state courts and stem in part from a divorce case involving the child’s mother and father, a former employee of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Thursday’s suit alleges that officials with the Kansas Department of Children and Families, formerly known as the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, not only failed to protect the child victim, “but began defending the abuser rather than the child abuse victim.”
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“The goal of the agency was to protect their own state of Kansas official and specifically to thwart the purpose of the agency acting contrary to the laws of the United States and Kansas,” according to the suit.
The suit contends that state officials engaged in misconduct by violating laws, regulations, court orders and “any standard expected by a civilized society” to deprive the child of her constitutional rights.
According to the allegations outlined in the suit:
The victim, identified as Jane Doe, was physically abused by her father in 2001.
Although the abuse was “substantiated,” an official “negligently” took the word of the father’s attorney that the child’s mother did not want to cooperate and the matter was dropped without officials first talking to the mother.
In 2005, alleged physical abuse was again reported.
“These bruises could only have been caused by someone using significantly excessive force in a spanking and this type of injury represents child abuse in any definition that I know of,” according to the doctor who treated the child.
But despite the concerns of the doctor and law enforcement officials in two counties, the state agency found the reported abuse to be unsubstantiated.
The child’s mother requested a hearing on that decision, but it was denied.
She then petitioned the courts to obtain a “fair hearing.”
What followed has been “more than a decade of obstruction” as the state agency “fought the child and defended the state of Kansas official.”
“The state agency hid documents and memorandums in addition to violating the Kansas Open Records Act when refusing to provide access to evidence,” according to the suit.