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Abuse victim wins $1 million settlement in lawsuit against OCS

“State caseworkers didn’t see the honey bucket in the little boy’s room or the lock on the outside of his bedroom door. When workers gave Patrick and Sherry Kelley a fifth child for adoption in July 2000, they never looked back.

A worried aunt flew up from Florida when that little boy was 7, went to the family’s Anchorage home, and said she frantically tried to get someone in the state child protection system to listen to concerns about what she saw.

No one ever responded, said the aunt, Betsy Golan, who lives in Fort Lauderdale.

If they had paid attention, then maybe they could have stopped what happened when the Kelley family moved to Big Lake far out of public view. Instead the dysfunction only grew deeper: Children were hit with switches, shovels and metal pipes. They didn’t go to school. The little boy suffered a fractured arm and serious burns.

The aunt’s early concerns became a key element in a lawsuit that alleged the state Office of Children’s Services (OCS) failed that boy.

A decade after Alaska State Troopers rescued the five Kelley children and exposed the harsh world of the family’s Big Lake compound, another chapter is closing.

The boy injured all those years ago this month won a $1 million settlement in a lawsuit against the state Office of Children’s Services.

He’s 20 now, a young man trying to make his own way. His mom named him Christian, the Kelleys called him Brandon and now he’s on his third name, Thomas Joseph White.

He goes by T.J.”

Bob Hallinen, ADN

Photo by: Bob Hallinen, ADN

Read more at the Alaska Dispatch News: Abuse victim wins $1 million settlement in lawsuit against state