• Woman settles for $1.7M from state because of abuse

    By: Deborah Horne


    She says she was sexually assaulted by a convicted felon while she was under the state's care

    That's why she believes the abuse was allowed to go on for years.

     She settled her case against the state for $1.7- million.

    The woman claims the abuse happened while she lived in Tacoma with the man who was 23 years her senior.

    She actually felt initially that this man was offering her a refuge.

    It's all there in these court documents.

    At the time, her mother was addicted to drugs.

    And she felt unwanted until she met Carl Watson. She was young teenager.

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    "We've had a lot of cases against DSHS in these types of situations," said Seattle lawyer Jason Amala. "KH's case is probably the most egregious that we've seen."

    Amala says he believes the fact that KH is black likely played a role.

    "I don't think anyone can really doubt DSHS viewed this family as a throwaway family, Hilltop area of Tacoma," he said. "And I have to think race did play a factor. And I hate to say that.

    But I don't know how you can ignore complaint after complaint and not take action."

    And KH has this advice those for those social workers still on the job.

    "If they would treat that person like someone they love, and give their all, and that's what it takes in situations that deal with people," said KH. "You gotta be willing to give your all from your heart. Or else things will happen like what happened to me."

    The work to undo what happened to her fully began when Watson died in 2016 and she found the Seattle law firm.

    "I started feeling like I was worthy,” she said, fighting back tears. "I wasn't just garbage."

    That, she says, is what her life had led her to feel.

    "Absolutely," she said.

    "Absolutely. I was nothing. I just existed. I was good for what he told me to do."

    Incredibly, KH says her faith allowed her to forgive Watson even before he died.

    And her mother, who was also addicted to drugs, is now drug free, too.

    She says she is creating a trust fund for the money -- to support her family.

    And she plans to write a book.

    Her working title: "Broken But Not Shattered."

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