This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Failing to disclose public records can get expensive, as the state keeps finding out.
The Department of Social and Health Services recently agreed to pay $525,001 to three girls who’d been abused for years by their state-licensed foster father, who was convicted of sex crimes two years ago and sentenced to four years in prison. The money wasn’t compensation for the abuse; it was for the agency’s violations of the state’s Public Records Act.
Their girls’ attorneys had sued DSHS for documents related to their $45 million claim for damages. The agency reportedly turned over more than 5,300 records, but the lawyers suspected some were being withheld. After they filed another lawsuit, 203 more turned up.
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