Claim: Mother says 4-year-old son taken without cause
HUNTINGTON BEACH– A woman has filed a claim against the city alleging the police department played a role in unlawfully taking her son because the man she was dating was involved in a pending child abuse case, according to documents.
Jill Randall filed a claim on Sept. 8 citing violation of civil rights, false arrest and infliction of emotional stress after her 4-year-old son was taken from her on March 8, 2010, according to the claim.
City officials said the claim is under investigation and no action has yet been taken.
Randall has named the city, county and specific social workers with Orange County Social Services as being responsible for her son being taken. She claims they did not follow proper procedure or investigate the situation.
"(Social workers) have been given power over human beings and have been given the trumpet of 'they are protecting children'," said Randall's attorney Robert R. Powell. "It's such a screwed up system that is hidden under the cloak of confidentiality."
A claim has been filed against the county and they are waiting for a rejection from both agencies so they can file in court, Powell said.
Terry Lynn Fisher, spokeswoman for Orange County Social Services Agency, said she cannot comment on pending litigation or on any OCSS clients and does not know the specifics of Randall's case. However, procedurally, social workers' goal is to keep children in the home, she said.
When abuse is suspected or it is determined a home may be unsafe for a child, an investigation is launched. If authorities feel keeping the child in the home may possibly be harmful, the child will be taken away, she said.
"Social workers don't remove children, the police remove children," Fisher said. "If the police find the need to remove a child for the safety of the child, they will. There must have been probable cause."
The claim says a social worker and police took the child from the home because Randall was "failing to protect" her son because she had written a letter to the county saying her boyfriend, Charles Dulyea, was living with her.
Her son, who is not named because he is a juvenile, was taken to his father's home after removal from Randall's custody. Randall says in the claim she has a restraining order against her ex-husband because he abused her.
A boyfriend investigated
Dulyea is currently involved in a child abuse case after his son, who was five weeks old at the time, was injured in 2009.
Dulyea on Nov. 9 took his son to the hospital after picking him up from his mother's house. The claim said he noticed discoloration under the child's chin and behind his neck and the baby was being very fussy. He later took the child to the hospital, the claim says.
The baby was determined to have severe injuries that "appeared to indicate the child had been injured in a non-accidental manner." The baby suffered a fracture to the skull, bruising to the eyes, chin, arms, hemorrhages and a humerus and clavicle fracture, the claim says.
The child was taken into county custody by social services and an investigation was launched, the claim says. Dulyea was not criminally charged for any injuries to his baby, the claim said.
During this time, Randall had been dating Dulyea, the claim says. Randall contends the mother of the child acknowledged the injuries occurred while the baby was in her custody, said Randall, who is also the attorney for Dulyea.
A later X-ray showed the baby also had a broken finger and broken ribs that the claim alleges happened when the child was in county custody.
Randall wrote a letter to county social workers saying despite a spotted past, she believed Dulyea was a loving father.
"To be honest, I was extremely hesitant about being in a relationship with an ex-convict, ex-drug addict and ex-trouble maker," she wrote. "I can say without a second of hesitation that Charles is an amazing father to his son."
In the letter, Randall disclosed Dulyea lived with her and her son, according to documents.
Taking the child
Social workers on March 8 took Randall's son into custody because they believed the child was in danger because Dulyea was living with the young boy, the claim says. Randall says in the claim she mistakenly wrote that Dulyea lived with her but there was no evidence in her home that her boyfriend had moved in, the claim says.
Randall also contends one of the social workers accused the couple of being members of Aryan Nation, a known white supremacy group, the claim says.
"This wasn't true," the claim says. "Neither Jill or Charles had ever been a part of any racist or supremacist group of any kind."
On the day social workers took Randall's son, she contends two Huntington Beach police officers and a social worker entered and searched her home without her consent, the claim says.
Randall said she told the social worker she would sever ties with her boyfriend if it meant her son could stay. She contends the police officers "concurred" with the social worker to take the 4-year-old into custody.
Randall regained custody of her son after a hearing in family court on March 11, the claim says. She was ordered to no longer have contact with Dulyea. Randall said in the claim she broke up with Dulyea.
Randall alleges the social worker lied in the report to gain custody of her son. She was issued a new social worker on March 16 who showed up at her home with two police officers, the claim says.
Randall said the new social worker listened to her story and opted to leave Randall's son in her custody, documents show. The claim says the case was later dubbed "unfounded" by the county.
The events in March have caused severe emotional distress for her and her son, Randall contends. She said in the claim when her son "sees unfamiliar men – particularly in dark blue or black clothing, he gets scared and hides behind his mother's legs."
The claim also says Randall had to incur "unnecessary" family courts costs in the battle for her son. She does not cite a specific dollar amount in damages she is seeking but the claim says it will be filed in Superior Court, which means she wants at least $10,000 in compensation.