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DCS Fails to Prevent Foster Care Abuse

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.