Feb. 04, 2008
The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The state Department of Children & Families has settled the last of three lawsuits that claimed the agency mishandled reports that a foster parent was molesting young girls.
The agency agreed last month to pay $175,000 to settle a case filed on behalf of a then 6-year-old girl who lived in the Southwest Ranches home of Thomas Ferrara in 1999. The state previously paid settlements of $1.5 million and $100,000 to settle suits filed on behalf of another young girl who lived with Ferrara, and has spent $483,000 in legal fees.
The 79-year-old man was a licensed foster parent from 1984 to 2000.
Ferrara denies molesting the girls, and has avoided prison through plea deals that got him house arrest and probation.
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