Montana must pay a 13-year-old $16 million in damages for failing to investigate a case of child abuse that left her blind.


Montana must pay a 13-year-old $16 million in damages for failing to investigate a case of child abuse that left her blind.

According to the Associated Press, the state of Montana was forced to pay $16.6 in damages to a 13-year-old girl after a judge determined that the state did not adequately investigate abuse complaints against the girl’s father and his girlfriend. The girl suffered a catastrophic brain injury when she was six months old, which left her blind and caused developmental delays and seizures.

Judge Elizabeth Best of the District Court in Great Falls concluded that the state was liable for the injuries the girl had in 2009 as a result of its failure to investigate accusations of abuse in December 2008. According to the Associated Press, a jury awarded the state damages of $6.6 million for future care, $5 million for the loss of her quality of life, $4 million for mental and emotional anguish, $713,000 in lost earnings, and $336,000 for past treatment on November 17.

In a statement, one of the girl’s lawyers, Larry Anderson, said, “This is an important moment for our client and marks a measure of justice for her.” “The jury’s decision also underscores the significance of thoroughly researching allegations of child abuse.” According to the complaint against the state, a caseworker for the Division of Child and Family Services failed to thoroughly investigate whether the girl was safe with her father and his girlfriend after accusations of abuse were made. According to the Associated Press, the complaint also claims that by neglecting to remove the daughter from her father and girlfriend in December, the kid was forced to endure additional abuse that could have been avoided.

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

After being found guilty of aggravated assault and criminal endangerment, Alicia Jo Hocter, the victim’s father’s girlfriend, was sentenced to 30 years in jail without the possibility of release in July 2010.

According to prosecutors at the time, Hocter grasped the infant around the waist and swung her against the edge of a wooden crib two or three times before tossing her into the crib, leaving the room, and closing the door.

The girl is a student at a residential school for the blind and deaf.

When asked if the Department of Public Health and Human Services intended to appeal the decision, spokesperson Jon Ebelt responded on Wednesday that it did not. This is a condensed version of the information.


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