Iowa taxpayers will pay $500,000 to a boy who was abused at a child care centre run by a Perry couple who are already serving long sentences for the death of another child in their care.
Officials from the state voted to give the damages to the boy, who is now 10 years old and whose family says he has PTSD because of his time with Marc Alan Ray and Misty Jo Bousman-Ray.
In 2017, the couple admitted to killing their adopted 16-year-old daughter Sabrina by letting her starve to death. In an investigation report from 2020, the then-Iowa State Ombudsman said that the case “brought me to tears.”
Bousman-Ray is now in prison for life, and Ray got an 80-year sentence.
The settlement says that the boy’s family says he was kicked and not given food while he was at Sunshine Day Care. This is what the three-person State Appeal Board agreed to.
It’s been 17 months, so Sabrina Ray’s friends and family are having a celebration of her life.
“It was not only a tragedy for Sabrina, but it also had an effect on her siblings and the other kids in that day care,” said the boy’s family’s lawyer, Scott Wadding.
Wadding said that what he has learned from his investigation makes him think that other children at the day care may have also been abused.
In her report, former Ombudsman Kristie Hirschman said that even though the day care was licensed by the state, abuse suspicions were not looked into. The report also said that over 13 years, it took care of 112 children, some of whom were the children of Iowa Department of Human Services employees and some of whom were from a private agency that worked with DHS to provide child welfare services.
What the Boy’s Family Said
According to Appeal Board records, the boy began attending Ray and Bousman-Day Ray’s Care in 2013 and continued until 2017, when the couple was arrested for Sabrina’s death and the abuse of her two younger sisters.
The boy’s family claims that the DHS, which is now part of the Department of Health and Human Services, was negligent in supervising the couple, whom the agency had licensed for child care and approved for foster care and adoption.
Court records show that, in addition to the couple, several other family members were charged with starving and abusing Sabrina, who weighed only 56 pounds when she died.
Prosecutors Reach Plea Agreement With Sabrina Ray’s Brother
Justin, Ray and Bousman’s older son, pleaded guilty to two counts of willful injury in connection with charges of “drop-kicking” his adopted sister down a flight of stairs. Carla Raye Bousman, Bousman’s mother, and Josie Raye Bousman, Sabrina’s younger sister, pleaded guilty to charges related to Sabrina’s abuse and attempts to hide her and her sisters’ injuries.
Carla and Josie Bousman are still in jail, awaiting the completion of their sentences. According to records, Justin Ray is currently on parole.
Ray and Bousman-Ray were also charged with theft and fraud in connection with obtaining state adoption benefits. The couple received more than $640,000 in state subsidies for adoption, foster care, and child care from 2006 to 2017, according to the Ombudsman’s report.
The three-member board that approved the claim did not admit specific wrongdoing by state officials. Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services say that the agency did everything it was supposed to do by law, but they still agreed to the settlement.
Even if Sabrina Ray’s parents are convicted of child abuse, they can keep their adoption payments. This is why:
The Des Moines Register won’t name the boy because it’s against their policy to name juvenile crime victims.
Ombudsman Report: The Agency Failed to Recognize Abuse
The Sabrina and Her Siblings Abuse Case Came After Similar Alarming Abuse Allegations involving 17-year-old Natalie Finn from West Des Moines, who died of starvation in October 2016, and Malayia Knapp from Urbandale, who ran away from an abusive home in late 2015.
The Ombudsman’s Lengthy Report Found Dhs Wrongly Rejected Some Reports Of Abuse Against Ray and Bousman-Ray, Who, According to Witnesses, Had Allies Within Dhs And In Perry, Where Day Care Was Scarce.
The report also stated that caseworker records were insufficiently accurate and thorough and that the agency failed to keep records for long enough to assist workers in identifying patterns of abuse.
Hirschman and her coworkers found it “incomprehensible” that the agency did not do an internal review of its own actions and decisions leading up to Ray’s death.
“There Were Plenty Of Official Eyes And Ears On This Family,” according to the report. “When it came down to it, DHS officials did not communicate effectively.”
Before it can take effect, the settlement with the boy must be approved by a Dallas County District Court Judge who oversees his interests.
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