Four former foster children who were allegedly abused by a Massachusetts couple will be paid $7 million under a settlement with the state.
Lawyers for the four announced the settlement Friday afternoon. One of the four died before the settlement was concluded.
The plaintiffs sued the Department of Children and Families Services and 17 DCF workers in Middlesex Superior Court, claiming their constitutional rights were violated by the organization’s indifference to the children’s treatment by Raymond and Susan Blouin.
The lawsuit alleged the children were locked in dog crates, forced to perform sex acts, submerged in ice baths to the point of drowning and threatened with death while under the couple's care. The plaintiffs also allege that DCF — then known as the Department of Social Services — ignored multiple reports of abuse and was deliberately indifferent to the abuse allegedly occurring in the home.
The four lived with the couple in Oxford, Massachusetts, at various times from the late 1990s to 2004.
The Blouins and Susan Blouin’s boyfriend, Philip Paquette, were charged with child abuse in 2003 and 2004, according to The Boston Globe. Raymond Blouin pleaded guilty and received two years’ probation. Susan Blouin received pre-trial probation and the case was dismissed within a year.
In 2019, after two of the victims came forward, the couple was charged again, the Globe reported. The Blouins are now facing one count of assault and battery on a child.
The Blouins have denied the charges.
Lawyers for the four former foster children said they hope the settlement will encourage those who have suffered abuse to come forward.
“Our clients have suffered unimaginably, first as survivors of torture and then because they weren't believed,” Erica Brody, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in a statement. “We hope that this case shows other mistreated foster children that if they come forward, their voices will be heard, and people will be held accountable."
The Department of Children and Families could not be reached for comment.