Oregon Toddler’s Family Sues Complex Over Abuse

November 14, 2013

Attorneys representing the family of a 3-year-old girl have filed a multi-million lawsuit against the owners and managers of a suburban Portland apartment complex, alleging they failed to protect the child from an abusive boy.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Multnomah County says the on-site manager at the Willamette Grove Apartments in Canby didn’t alert residents the boy had previously peeped into a girl’s bedroom and threatened children with a knife. Moreover, it claims the woman instructed the parents of those children not to disclose the boy’s behavior to other tenants.

According to the lawsuit, the boy started molesting the toddler in June after offering sweets in exchange for the removal of her clothes. The abuse occurred multiple times during a stretch of at least two or three weeks, according to the suit, and the girl was taken to the hospital for an examination in early July.

Neither child is named beyond initials in the lawsuit. Attorney Kristian Roggendorf said the boy is not much older than 10, and his criminal case entered the juvenile justice system after the girl’s parents alerted state and local officials.

“He’s incredibly young as well,” Roggendorf said. “Obviously there’s something deeply damaged about the boy. The fact that it was allowed to go this far is really more the adults’ problem than the child’s.”

The lawsuit seeks $6 million in damages and another $25,000 for psychological treatment. It names the complex owner, Grand Oaks Willamette LLC, and property management company, Norris & Stevens Inc. A representative from the apartment complex declined to comment and said she would ask Norris & Stevens to respond, which it did not do by Tuesday evening.

The boy’s family has left the apartment complex, but the girl’s family remains, Roggendorf said. Besides the abuse, the lawsuit claims the girl’s family faced retaliation and harassment after lodging its complaint.

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