Recently, The Department of Child Safety (DCS) has taken heavy criticism
after a notice of claim was filed against the entity by the lawyers at
Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, P.A. The notice of claim alleges that DCS
placed a child in a foster home with a convicted, registered sex offender.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich, DCS Director Gregory McKay, and three
other DCS employees were named in the 15 page claim.
Our attorney Robert Pastor, had the following to say about the filing:
"This isn't just about one child. It's about trying to raise
a flag and shine a light on all the other children that no one else is
paying attention to, including DCS…Someone didn't do their
job, whether it's a single individual person or it's a systemic
problem within DCS, I don't know.”
According to the notice of claim, DCS placed a 7-year-old girl in a foster
home in Surprise, AZ in November of 2015. According to a preliminary investigation,
DCS never entered the Surprise address into the state's sex offender
database. According to Attorney Pastor, if DCS had done this, DCS would
have found that Jose Egurolla, a level three sex offender who was convicted
of sexually abusing his own children, lived at the foster home.
"Why didn't you check? Why didn't you look? If a common citizen
can go put their address in the database to find out how many sex offenders
live around him or her, why can't DCS do the same thing when placing
a child in foster care?" says Pastor.
In April of 2016, the girl, along with her foster parents and Egurolla,
moved into a home on West Sherman Street in Avondale. Egurolla did what
he was supposed to do and updated his address with both the MVD and DPS
sex offender registry. Unfortunately, Egurolla molested the child in the
middle of the night in the foster home. Mr. Pastor says that “the
nature of the abuse is horrific."
The child reported the
sexual abuse to an adult and the abuse was confirmed using DNA evidence. Egurrola pled
guilty to child sexual abuse and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Attorney Pastor, however, says this is only half the battle. "Go
check the Arizona Department of Public Safety and check the database.
Who is living there? Because Mr. Egurrola, he registered and that's
why we have that system. And DCS didn't even use it."
Mr. Pastor claims that Attorney General Mark Brnovich, DCS Director Gregory
McKay, and the three other DCS employees named in claim played a role
in the abuse by placing the young girl in the home where a convicted sex
offender lived. Attorney Pastor believes this case is “indicative
of a wider, bigger problem of children being placed in homes that aren't
properly investigated and that aren't safe."
Both DCS and the Office of the Attorney General have not yet commented
on this pending litigation.
Have you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse while in a foster home
or group home? Have you or a loved one been sexually abused while in the
custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety? We can help you get
the justice you deserve. Contact our team of Phoenix sexual abuse attorneys
to schedule your free case consultation today.