Seeing their tormenter convicted of criminal charges won’t heal the wounds of a child sexually assaulted while in foster care, but it might help.
Walter Scott, 60, of Southwest Philly, is scheduled to begin trial today at the Criminal Justice Center on charges that he raped children who were in his care as a foster parent. Three victims are set to testify.
“I would never have thought that people would utilize the foster care system or any system to collect victims,” said Nadeem Bezar, the attorney representing one of the victims.
Bezar's client is a local girl who at age 7 who was placed in Scott’s care twice, when her full-time foster parent became unavailable for a number of days.
Bezar, a Temple law graduate and a partner at local firm Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Bezar, specializes in medical negligence, child abuse and cases involving catastrophic personal injuries.
The girl complained of sexual abuse after a first visit to Scott’s home in November 2012, but was sent back to Scott’s home in February 2013, where she was again sexually abused, according to Bezar.
“A 7-year-old girl was forced to experience things that are unspeakable,” he said.
Scott faces charges including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of children, and corruption of minors.
He’s been free on $100,000 bond since he was arrested in April 2013. Scott’s defense attorney declined to comment on the case.
Bezar’s lawsuit seeks undisclosed financial damages. The suit claims Presbyterian Children’s Village, the placement agency contracted by the state Department of Public Welfare to foster the victim, did not perform a sufficient background check on Scott.
Such a check would have shown another foster care agency stopped using Scott’s home for fostering for unclear reasons, Bezar said.
Additionally, the placement agency knew the home was being investigated for an abuse complaint when they sent her back to Scott in February 2013, he said.
“We are unable to comment because of federal and state privacy laws as well as the fact that this is an ongoing legal matter,” said a statement released by Presbyterian Children’s Village.
“The house should never have been used to begin with,” Bezar said. “These are kids that have already been uprooted from their homes, their parents, and they’re being placed in these homes where they’re supposed to be safe … Then there’s a knock on the door, a light comes on, and unspeakable things happen.”
Bezar said Scott’s conviction would provide some resolution for his client.
“Would she feel safer knowing that this person is behind bars?” he asked. “I hope so.”