BOSTON (AP) — Four former foster children allegedly abused by a Massachusetts couple are being awarded $7 million as part of a settlement with the state.
The lawyers for the four announced the settlement on Friday afternoon. One of the four died before the settlement was finalized.
The plaintiffs sued the Department of Children and Families Services and 17 DCF staff in Middlesex Superior Court, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the organization’s indifference to Raymond and Susan Blouin’s treatment of the children.
The lawsuit alleged the children were locked in dog crates, coerced into sexual acts, immersed in ice baths until drowning and threatened with death while in the couple’s care.
Plaintiffs also allege that DCF — then known as the Department of Social Services — ignored multiple reports of abuse and was knowingly indifferent to the abuse that allegedly took place at the home.
The four lived with the couple in Oxford, Massachusetts at various times from the late 1990s through 2004.
Accordingly, the Blouins and Susan Blouin’s friend Philip Paquette were charged with child molestation in 2003 and 2004 The Boston Globe. Raymond Blouin pleaded guilty and received a two-year suspended sentence. Susan Blouin and Paquette were granted pre-trial parole and the case was dismissed within a year globe reported.
In 2019, the couple faced charges again after two of the victims came forward globe reported. The Blouins are now facing charges of assault and assault against a child.
The Blouins have denied the allegations.
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 were not believed,” Erica Brody, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in a statement. “We hope this case will show other abused foster children that their voices are heard and that people are held accountable when they speak up.”
The Department for Children and Families could not be reached for comment.