Partners Darrell Cochran, Tom Vertetis, Michael Pfau, Kevin Hastings and Chris Love, along with associates Andy Ulmer, Bridget Grotz, Michael McNeil, Alex Dietz and Patrick Brown, reached a $6 million settlement with Kiwanis International on behalf of a group of plaintiffs, many of whom were wards of the state of Washington, who were sexually abused while placed in the Kiwanis Vocational Home for Youth (KVH). During the time the plaintiffs were residents of KVH, they also experienced severe physical abuse and neglect at the hands of staff.
The plaintiffs, many of whom came from dysfunctional homes, were placed at KVH with the promise of protection from further harm and a therapeutic environment in which they could grow. However, rather than providing protection, Kiwanis International created and maintained KVH as one of the worst and most dangerous group homes Washington has ever seen. The lack of oversight resulted in rampant and widespread abuse.
“For over 30 years, the dark and sinister story of child rapes and sexual assaults at KVH has lain entombed in a shroud of secrecy and shame,” said Darrell Cochran. “Like an archaeological dig, we needed to unearth this, study it’s horror, tell the truth about what happened so we learn from it and give these spirits a peace of mind to move forward.”
The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of Washington for Pierce County.
Additional media coverage on the settlement.
Associated Press, “$6 million settlement for men abused at Kiwanis boys home”
KOMO News, “$6 million settlement for men abused at Kiwanis boys home”
KIRO 7, “$6M settlement in lawsuit over sexual abuse of boys at Kiwanis group home”
US News & World Report, “$6 million settlement for men abused at Kiwanis boys home”
Washington Times, “$6 million settlement for men abused at Kiwanis boys home”
Yahoo News, “Kiwanis to Pay $6 Million to Former Centralia Boys Home Residents”