Teen sues county for placing

Teen sues county for placing her in custody of sex offender grandfather

by Emily Friedman

ABC News

April 9, 2010


(ABC News) – A Washington state teen is suing for millions of dollars in damages after she said a family court investigator “ruined her life” by knowingly sending her to live with her grandfather, a convicted sex offender who proceeded to abuse her nearly every day for a decade.

In court documents filed late last month, the unidentified teen claimed that she was just six years old when Cowlitz County Family Court Services investigator Mark Workingor took her from her mother and placed her in a home with her father and grandparents.

The teen said in the court documents that it happened in spite of her own father warning Workingor that his father, Vernil Jones, had been convicted of sodomizing a 10-year-old girl.

“She went through 10 years of incest of every kind almost daily by her grandfather,” said Lincoln Beauregard, the attorney representing the teen.

“The bottom line is, regardless of where she lived, she should not have lived with a pedophile,” said Beauregard.

Jones since has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the assaults against the teen.

Attempts to reach Workingor were unsuccessful, and messages left for Ron Marshall, the Cowlitz County ‘ s chief civil deputy prosecutor, were not immediately returned.

Marshall told The Daily News in Washington that while he had no comment on the pending litigation, Workingor no longer was working for the county.


Teen Spent 10 Years With Abusive Grandfather Despite Warnings

Outlined in the court documents is the sequence of events that led to the teen being placed under the same roof as Jones.

In March 1999, the teen’s father petitioned the court for custody of the then-6-year-old. According to the court documents, the father told authorities that he was worried that the teen’s mother “neglects the child’s supervision, nutrition and hygiene” and had a “history of drug use.” The father also claimed that his daughter suffered from “chronic head lice infestations” because of the “filthy home” the mother kept, according to the court documents.

The investigator found that while the teen s mother had provided the majority of the teen’s care since she was born, she was doing so inadequately and awarded primary custody to the father . Also included in the investigator’s recommendation was that any contact between the child and the sex offender grandfather “be supervised by either the father or the paternal grandmother.”

The teen’s lawyer referred to that recommendation as “outrageous,” and called the county’s decision to place the child with Jones “egregious.”

The teen ‘ s lawyer said that his client decided to bring her case to the public ‘ s attention in hopes of helping other children like her who have become victims because of the “egregious actions” of Cowlitz County .

“She hopes that bringing visibility to her case will be a form of justice to her,” said Beauregard.