As a Philadelphia man accused of raping his 7-year-old foster daughter prepares for his trial, the girl's lawyer is speaking out, claiming the placement agency put the girl in the home after the man was accused of inappropriately touching another child.
Walter Scott was arrested in 2013 after he allegedly raped his 7-year-old foster daughter on two separate occasions. He was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child and is currently out on $100,000 bond. His trial is set to begin Thursday and he has denied all allegations against him.
The girl's attorney, Nadeem Bezar, told NBC10 Children Protective Service investigators were looking into a complaint only days before the Presbyterian Children’s Village, the foster care placement agency now known as the Village, placed the girl in Scott's care.
"Presbyterian Children's Village has admitted that the child should not have been placed in the respite home in February, 2013," Bezar said. "Another child had complained that Mr. Scott had patted her backside and touched her a few times so she felt uncomfortable."
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
According to Bezar, the Village failed to investigate the allegation. Bezar also said Scott was not arrested until five months after the first alleged rape.
Bezar later filed a lawsuit against Presbyterian on the child’s behalf. A spokesperson for Presbyterian denied the allegations against the agency when we first covered this story last year.
Bezar showed NBC10 a document, written Feb. 19, 2013, stating a case manager for the Village informed the Department of Human Services that "there will be no other children placed in the home." The letter referred to another child who accused Scott of inappropriate behavior inside his home on Feb. 18.
Bezar told NBC10 the girl was still placed in Scott's home on Feb. 20 despite the report.
"When you have a system that's supposed to stop placement in a home because it's under investigation and you go through that system and don't abide by it, it makes us all nervous," Bezar said.
NBC10 reached out to the Department of Human Services but they had no comment. NBC10 also reached out to the Village regarding the most recent allegations from Bezar.
"We are unable to comment because of federal and state privacy laws as well as the fact that this is an ongoing legal matter," a spokesperson wrote.
Bezar said that what happened to the young girl was a systemic failure.
"It is a stop sign that not just one person ran through but three, four, five people ran through," he said. "If our system is supposed to protect these children then you better go out and make sure you have the right people that are sitting and taking care of them."
Bezar told NBC10 he plans on filing a motion seeking punitive damages against the Village.
The Department of Public Welfare is the state agency that licenses foster homes. A spokesperson from the agency told NBC10 that any foster parent accused of abusing children is automatically placed on a list preventing them from contacting foster children.