State sued, accused of failing to protect kids from “child torture”

State sued, accused of failing to protect kids from “child torture”

The state of Washington faces a lawsuit in Spokane County, accused of failing to protect three local children from what a nurse practitioner described as “child torture.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the three children, who are seven five and three years old.

According to the suit, the children were in the custody of their father, Taliferro B. Williams.

The suit says DSHS began investigating claims of abuse in 2013. Over the years, the child had been removed from their home off and on.

In 2015, DSHS cited Williams’ “history of violent behavior and his failure to complete treatment related to that behavior.”

The children’s mother reported that Williams beat her and tried to strangle her and that he was non-compliant with domestic violence treatment. She told the state Williams also gouged her eyes with his fingers.

Williams has a history of assault on a police officer and served prison time for that. Once, DSHS warned its own employees of Williams’ behavior, saying he’s “extremely dangerous. Do not approach on your own.”

In 2015, DSHS received several reports of abuse and neglect. One child had a bruised cheek, saying Williams backhanded him. Another child had severe diaper rash that led to bleeding and infected genitals.

In the fall of 2015, DSHS received several more reports of abuse and neglect. One child said Williams pulled out a patch of his hair and that Williams “bites and chokes him.”

In 2016, DSHS received a report that Williams bit the 4-year old child and that the other child had bite marks on his feet, a black eye and a cut on hose. DSHS didn’t visit the home until 15 days later.

In that visit at Williams’ apartment in Spokane Valley, Williams met case workers outside and said they could not talk to the children alone, could not take their pictures and could not look under their clothes. DSHS workers said Williams appeared “nervous and sweaty.”

The case worker said they needed to talk to the kids and take pictures to clear up the allegations; Williams reportedly said he would abscond with the children if they did.

The following month, the case worker suggested Williams take the children to the doctor, but the lawsuit said he again threatened to leave the state.

Upon receiving multiple reports of abuse in the ensuing months, DSHS workers tried to contact Williams, but he refused to answer the door. The lawsuit says DSHS never asked the court to intervene.

Things changed when police were called to the apartment on July 30, 2016. They were called to the apartment for a report that Williams tried to strangle his mother. The lawsuit says Williams took off and left the children alone in the apartment. They were then taken in to protective custody.

The law enforcement report from that day shows the children showed signs of abuse. The report cites 18 injuries to one child, including bruising and bite marks. Another child was covered in bruises and had untreated cuts on his head, according to the lawsuit. One child had a spiral fracture to the tibia, “which Williams had splinted with a Pringles can.” Another child had corneal scarring, severe dermatitis and oozing wounds.

A nurse practitioner who examined the children said one had likely been “choked, punched in the chest, kicked in the thigh and bitten.” According to that report, it was “very clear that it is her father that has been physically abusing all the children in the house.”

She also cited that the injuries were “sadistic in nature, meaning to cause the child substantial and ongoing pain. This type of abuse meets the criteria for child torture.”

The lawsuit claims the state was negligent and failed to protect the children from the forseeable, intentional acts.”

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