Arizona Wants Immunity for Social Workers Who Allowed Child Sex Abuser to Remain a Licensed Foster Parent to Sexually Traffick Children

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by Brian Shilhavy, Health Impact News:

One of the most horrific stories Health Impact News has ever covered involving child sex trafficking through the foster care system is a story we have been following and reporting on in Arizona since 2017.

It started with the story of Devani, a 2-year-old child who was removed from the family who loved her, simply because the mother had a previous history of drug abuse, and then was put into the home of David Frodsham, a top civilian commander at Fort Huachuca, a major Army installation in Arizona, where 2-year-old Devani became part of a pedophile ring and was repeatedly raped.

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David Frodsham was eventually arrested and is currently in prison, but Devani was not placed back with her family, but with another foster family, where 80% of her body was burned. See:

Arizona Child Removed from Loving Family and Placed into Foster Care Where She was Repeatedly Raped – then 80% of Body Burned

This story is so horrible, that the national corporate media has also reported on it, and last year (April, 2022), Michael Rezendes, writing for the Associated Press, provided new details of the Frodsham child sex trafficking ring operating through the Arizona Foster Care system, as three of his adopted sons came forward to file lawsuits for the years that they too were sexually abused and trafficked.

(David) Frodsham pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges in 2016 and is serving a 17-year sentence. But records reviewed by the AP show that the U.S. Army and the state of Arizona missed or ignored multiple red flags over more than a decade, which allowed Frodsham to allegedly abuse his adopted son and other children for years, all the while putting national security at risk.

The state permitted Frodsham and his wife, Barbara, to foster, adopt and retain custody of their many children despite nearly 20 complaints, and attempted complaints, of abuse, neglect, maltreatment and licensing violations. Meanwhile, the Army gave Frodsham security clearances and sensitive jobs at a time when his illicit sexual practices made him vulnerable to blackmail.

Frodsham, former Sgt. Randall Bischak and a third man not associated with the Army are all serving prison terms for the roles they played in the child sex abuse ring. But the investigation is continuing because Sierra Vista police believe additional men took part.

Now, the criminal investigation is spilling over into civil court, where two of Frodsham’s adopted sons have filed separate lawsuits against the state for licensing David and Barbara Frodsham as foster parents in a home where they say they were physically and sexually abused throughout their lives.

A third adopted son filed suit Tuesday in Arizona state court in Cochise County, said attorney Lynne Cadigan, who represents all three. In the latest complaint, 19-year-old Trever Frodsham says case workers missed or overlooked numerous signs that David and Barbara Frodsham were unfit parents.

These included a 2002 sex abuse complaint filed with local police by one of the Frodshams’ biological daughters against an older biological brother, and the fact that David and Barbara Frodsham were themselves victims of child sex abuse. (Full article.)

And while David Frodsham is currently serving out his term in prison, the people employed by the State of Arizona and tasked with protecting Arizona foster children, who ignored complaints against the Frodshams for years, have not been punished yet for their complicit crimes to allow this evil system to continue.

One of the adopted Frodsham boys, Trever Frodsham, has filed a suit against the State of Arizona, but Joe Duhownik of Courthouse News Service reported last week that the State of Arizona is claiming that the caseworkers should have “immunity” for their crimes in allowing this pedophile ring to not only exist, but be funded by the State of Arizona for years now.

Arizona claims immunity in negligence case over foster home sex abuse

One of the many victims of a former civilian army leader’s sex abuse ring asked a federal judge to find the state negligent in placing him in the man’s care.

A child sex abuse victim argued for partial summary judgment Friday in a negligence suit against the state of Arizona over its placement of foster children.

Trever Frodsham says the state and its cooperating agencies were grossly negligent in placing Trever and his siblings in the care of former civilian army leader David Frodsham and leaving him there despite numerous complaints of abuse and sexual misconduct.

He says his foster father sexually abused him from age 2 to age 14, when David Frodsham was arrested in 2016. He’s currently serving a 17-year prison sentence for leading a sex abuse ring, forcing multiple children he fostered to perform sex acts on both him and his friends, sometimes in the presence of his wife, Barbara. Both he and Barbara are named as defendants as well in the civil case against the state.

The state allowed the couple to retain custody of their foster children and later adopt them despite nearly 20 complaints of misconduct. Arizona says in its reply to the 2022 lawsuit that Catholic Community Services and Arizona Partnership for Children, the agencies that aid the Arizona Department of Child Services in placement of foster kids, investigated each complaint but couldn’t substantiate any of them until David Frodsham was arrested.

Trever, now 20, moved for summary judgment in November on the counts pertaining to the state’s negligence, leaving claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and more to be decided by a jury.

The state countered his motion in December, arguing that both it and the caseworkers responsible for Trever’s foster family have qualified immunity. Because the decisions to place and keep him in David Frodsham’s home required the exercise of professional judgment and discretion, the state says those caseworkers cannot be held liable for making a call they thought was in the best interest of the child.

“There’s no reason a caseworker shouldn’t have qualified immunity, otherwise we’re always gonna be in court,” state attorney Mark Lammers said in a Friday morning hearing. “The caseworker is in a tough spot sometimes and has to make tough professional calls.” (Full article.)

The state attorney, Mark Lammers, does not have strong legal case law on his side when he states “There’s no reason a caseworker shouldn’t have qualified immunity, otherwise we’re always gonna be in court.”

“Qualified immunity,” however, is not a blanket rule that can be invoked to cover up negligence and abuse by those employed by the state to wrongfully kidnap children from loving families and put them into the homes of known pedophiles at the expense of taxpayers funding the Child Welfare system.

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