Darrell Cochran, Kevin Hastings and Patrick Brown reached a $4.9-million settlement with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of 9 individuals who were sexually abused as residents of Toutle River Boys Ranch in Cowlitz County, Washington.
Founded in 1961, Toutle River Boys Ranch served as a facility for boys in the foster care system to live, work and receive vocational training. Unfortunately, some who worked at Toutle River took advantage of their positions of power and control to sexually abuse juvenile residents. When complaints were brought to the attention of the facility staff, investigations were conducted in a grossly inadequate manner, if at all. Retaliation and suppression of complaints were common. Supervision of the staff was laissez faire at best and at worst supervisory staff actively condoned the abuse and protected the abusers.
Through numerous sources Washington State officials knew or should have known about this abuse and intervened. Yet, the abuse persisted.
“Though the ranch closed years ago, it left a grotesque living legacy of sexually abused boys with wounded souls and damaged psyches,” Darrell said. “When these tragedies are left unaddressed, society carries the burden of the alcoholism, the drug abuse, the criminal conduct and the cycle of violence that goes along with trying to ignore the devastation caused by the horrific sexual abuse and neglect that went on at the Toutle River Boys Ranch.”
PCVA continues to pursue litigation against the State on behalf of additional plaintiffs who were abused at Toutle River Boys Ranch.
Media coverage about the settlement:
The Daily News, “State settles for $5M in Toutle River Boys Ranch negligence lawsuit”