Child Abuse Survivor Files Motion for Sanctions Against the State of Washington for Withholding Material Evidence in Previous Civil Case According to Dearie Law Group

February 26, 2024 12:32 PM EST

“Whether done intentionally or through recklessness…withholding…the recording was indefensible”

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, a 35-year-old survivor of child sex abuse asked the Snohomish County Superior Court to sanction State of Washington agencies after recent findings showed that the Washington Attorney General’s Office failed to produce a key piece of evidence during the discovery phase of a civil case brought by the survivor in 2019.

According to the motion filed by Dearie Law Group, the State and the Attorney General’s Office failed to turn over a recording in which Jocelyn Wicks, a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator, asserted that she was "100% sure” that former Monroe Police Sergeant Carlos Martinez was sexually abusing the then 14-year-old girl as early as 2003. The 2013 recording was part of an interview by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) during its criminal investigation into the sexual abuse.

“We are absolutely astounded with this on two levels,” said Raymond Dearie, an attorney with Dearie Law Group, P.S. who filed the motion on behalf of A.K. “First, the CPS investigator is defined by law as a mandatory reporter – had she done her job back in 2003, A.K. would have been spared years of sexual abuse. In addition, had the State disclosed the existence of this recording as they were required to do, the case would likely have settled short of trial and spared my client the emotional stress and anxiety of testifying about this in a public jury trial, which the state is now appealing.”

According to the court filing, A.K.’s legal team learned of the recording just a week prior to the civil trial, and 53 months after discovery began, when attorney Dearie became concerned that the State was withholding material evidence after meeting with WSP Trooper William Steen in a routine pre-trial interview. Trooper Steen was the primary investigator in the Martinez 2013 criminal case and after being presented with a subpoena, Steen provided a copy of the Wicks recording to Dearie.

“We are confident that the trial could have been averted if the State had simply turned over the recording in a timely manner,” Dearie added.

From 2002 to 2004, A.K. attended Monroe Junior High School where at age 13 or 14 she became the victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by Martinez. In 2013, Martinez was found guilty of committing sex crimes against A.K. and charged by the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Following the criminal case, A.K. pursued civil litigation in 2019 against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) for failing to protect her as a minor. The case was filed on the grounds that Wicks was aware of the abuse and failed to report it pursuant to her role as a CPS worker.

According to the motion, the State of Washington, through the DCYF, denied that Wicks had any reason to believe that A.K. was abused in any capacity.

During the trial, Dearie Law Group filed a motion seeking sanctions against the State and the DCYF for withholding Wicks’ recorded statement. During argument on that motion in October of last year, the Supervising Attorney General represented to the Court that, “What you don’t hear is a scintilla of evidence that suggested that DCYF or, for that matter, the Attorney General’s Office had copies of the recorded interview...” prior to trial.

After the Snohomish County Superior Court entered judgement on the jury verdict on November 13, 2023, Dearie Law Group filed a public records request with the WSP for requests tied to the Martinez investigation, according to the motion. Dearie stated that he and his office were suspicious of the Attorney General’s representations to the Judge that they did not possess the recorded statement, since the Washington State Patrol is represented by the Washington Attorney General’s Office routinely.

The public records request that The Dearie Law Group initiated showed that the WSP provided the Wicks recording to the DCYF on or about May 15, 2023, several months before the start of trial.

Dearie claims that whether done intentionally or through recklessness, DCYF’s withholding of the recording was indefensible and impaired his ability to prepare the civil case for trial and allow the jury to make a fully informed decision.

“I survived this devastating abuse as a child – on my own,” said A.K. “Nobody ever reached out to help me, and I was too young to fully understand the gravity of the situation. I interacted regularly with Ms. Wicks while the abuse was occurring, and she could have prevented it if she simply did her job, yet she stayed silent in my time of need.”

The new motion for sanctions filing seeks a new jury trial and monetary damages to compensate A.K. for the actions of DCYF in withholding critical information from A.K.’s attorneys and misrepresenting basic facts to the Judge back in October of last year.

Mark Firmani
[email protected]

Source: Dearie Law Group

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