Jurors deciding a multi-million lawsuit against the Florida Department of Children & Families on Wednesday got the chance to see the young man who allegedly sexually assaulted his foster brother.
Appearing before the jury on video-tape from prison, where he is serving serving time on a larceny charge, the now 21-year-old politely answered lawyers questions but said he didn’t know why the family kicked him out of their Wellington home in July 2005 after three years.
One day, Jerald testified, they “just dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and said, ‘Have a nice life.’ “
The man, who is suing DCF and another child care agency for not telling him and his wife that the horrific sexual and physical abuse Jerald suffered had turned him into a predator, has told jurors that they finally gave up on the boy after their biological son revealed Jerald had sexually assaulted him during a game of “Truth or Dare.” It was then, the father testified earlier, that he called authorities and demanded they remove Jerald from their home.
He is seeking millions to help his now 20-year-old son recover from the emotional scars that psychologists said will haunt him for the rest of his life.
The Palm Beach Post is not identifying those involved because of the nature of the allegations. The newspaper doesn’t name victims of sexual assault.
Jerald wasn’t asked about the assault, presumably on the advice of his attorney. He could still be charged.
But he gave far different accounts of other disturbing incidents that occurred during the time he spent with the family. For instance, he said he didn’t intentionally squeeze to death Junior’s pet mouse, as both the father and Junior have claimed. It was an accident, he said.
He also denied ever killing other animals, even though such incidents are well documented in DCF records presented to the jury.
Jerald also said the family, at least Junior’s mother, knew about the sexual abuse he suffered. She helped prosecute one of his attackers and he said he told her about being assaulted by his mother’s boyfriends.
The foster mother died in December 2006 after a more than 2 1/2-year battle with colon cancer.
The father testified that while they helped prosecute the man who abused Jerald in the month before he came to live with them, they never knew he had been abused since he was 18 months old.
The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday.
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