Ponca City, OK

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Majority of Oklahoma DHS workers dropped from lawsuit

The Associated Press and The Oklahoman - May 14, 2018 4:17 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A federal appeals court has dismissed most of the social workers in a lawsuit that alleges the Oklahoma Department of Human Services failed to protect children from decade-long abuse by a couple.

The Oklahoman reports that the appeals court ruled 14 of 17 agency workers should be dropped from the lawsuit filed by nine children who were under Jerry and Deidre Matthews’ care.

Jerry Matthews received a suspended life sentence on child neglect charges in 2016 for testifying against his now ex-wife. Deidre Matthews received a life sentence for child abuse, neglect and endangerment.

The children’s lawsuit alleges the agency received 17 complaints about the couple from 2004-2014 without taking action.

The ruling says private individuals are generally legally responsible for any harm in such cases, rather than government agency employees that could’ve intervened.

The case will now go back to federal court in Tulsa.

 

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