Ky. family sues, alleging social workers did not report abuse - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shelbyville family sues social workers over alleged abuse by adopted sons

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Beverly Hilger and her daughter, Ashley, say the state failed to disclose that two boys Beverly adopted in 2005 had been sexually abused. Beverly Hilger and her daughter, Ashley, say the state failed to disclose that two boys Beverly adopted in 2005 had been sexually abused.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Shelbyville family is suing two state social workers and a supervisor claiming they lied about the past sexual abuse of two boys the family adopted.

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court this week, alleges the social workers failed to disclose that the boys had been sexually abused and had allegedly perpetrated abuse on others.

The family's attorney, William McMurray, claims the state hid these facts in the hopes of finding permanent homes for the boys so the state could receive "financial incentives" from the federal government. 

"I think they lied because it's all about moving flesh. It's all about quotas, numbers," McMurray said.

The adoptive mother named as a plaintiff, Beverly Hilger, claims the two adopted boys later sexually abused her adopted daughters over a period of years.

The lawsuit states the Cabinet for Health and Family Services failed to "supervise and/or train" the social workers and supervisors "to provide the background information of the to-be-adopted children."

Jill Midkiff, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet, released a statement through email saying:

"The Cabinet is not a party to this lawsuit. The Cabinet has no comment on the substance of the complaint." The social workers and former supervisor named could not be reached for comment before news time.

Beverly Hilger says the boys' adoption was finalized in 2005 and that it was "almost a year" before she gained access to their files with the Cabinet, detailing their past abuse and alleged abuses.

"That information was never shared with us. If it's in the file and the worker has the file - what other conclusion can you have other than it was deliberate," Hilger said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Hilger claims she asked specific questions about the boys' pasts during the pre-adoption process and was assured they had endured no abuse.

Beverly Hilger says the alleged abuse on her adoptive daughters began in July of 2005, but that she didn't learn of it until 2007, when her daughter Ashley - now 17 - came forward.

(While it is not typical for sexual abuse victims to be identified in news reports, Ashley Hilger, her mother and attorney all said it was something they carefully considered and wished to do).

"First of all, I don't think this is something that I should be ashamed about, I didn't want this to happen, I didn't choose for this to happen," Ashley Hilger told a room full of reporters. "It was weird because during the day they were my brother and they would shove me and we would be friends or whatever. And at night, that's when most of the abuse happened. It was like day and night really."

Ashley claims she was initially scared to say anything - fearing she would derail the promising path to college the older of her adopted brothers had set for himself. She changed her mind - promising if it ever happened again she would report it. Six months to a year later, she came clean with the details of the alleged abuse. One of the boys - now in his mid 20s - is facing a criminal trial related to the alleged abuse.

"I don't want anything like this to happen to anyone because it's like not fair," Ashley Hilger said.

Beverly Hilger says she still is the adoptive mother to both of the boys and claims the state failed them as well by not getting them the treatment they needed as victims of abuse.

"I do forgive them for what they did but I will never forgive the social workers because they put these girls and my boys in harm's way," Hilger said.

The lawsuit only represents one side of the case, but seeks damages for "emotional, physical and mental pain."

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