OLYMPIA, Wash. (CN) – Guardians say children suffered “mistreatment, sexual exploitation, and deprivation of the most basic human needs,” at the Olympia Kiwanis’ Boys Ranch, a group foster home the Kiwanis club runs for the state of Washington.
The boys, identified by initials, say the states social service agencies knew of the abuses at the ranch, also known as the O.K. Boys Ranch, but covered them up and looked the other way.
They claim the state and Kiwanis International officials had “actual knowledge of a pattern of neglect, mistreatment, physical injury and abuse, and sexual exploitation” by staff at the camp, but did nothing to intervene.
The Kiwanis Boys Ranch has received such complaints since the 1970s, and the Department of Social and Health Services shut it down in 1994, The Olympian newspapers reported in 2009 after a similar lawsuit.
The plaintiffs said Washington and its Department of Social and Health Services had a duty to “suspend or revoke the Ranch’s license” because it “had actual knowledge of criminal and sexual misconduct.”
They say the defendants “negligently and routinely failed to intervene to investigate, to report to proper authorities, and provide care and treatment for the boys”.
They seek damages and special damages for negligence. They are represented by John Connelly Jr. and Lincoln Beauregard with the Connelly Law Firm, which has represented others in actions against the ranch.