Judge awards 8-year-old girl $485M in sexual abuse case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – 66-year-old Clarence Garcia was a foster parent in New Mexico for several years.  

Now, he’s at the center of a $485 million lawsuit for his role in sexually abusing an 8-year-old girl under his care. 

Also named in this lawsuit is Acadia Health and its subsidiaries, the Youth Family Centered Services of New Mexico, and the now shut down Desert Hills Facility. 

The lawsuit claims FamilyWorks knew about Garcia’s prior charges of sexual abuse toward children and placed the 8-year-old girl with him anyway. 

In January, court documents show he pled guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor, including the girl named in this lawsuit.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, the children in those cases agreed to the plea because they didn’t want to testify against their abuser, and have to relive their trauma over and over again in court. 

Garcia was sentenced to 20 years probation. But, in April, he violated that and is now facing up to 42 years in prison for those violations. 

The lawsuit says Garcia repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted the 8-year-old girl. 

Court documents show the money will be paid out from Acadia Health and its subsidiaries.  

Garcia is not in custody currently. He is expected back in court in August for the probation violation. 

Court documents show probation officers found prohibited Facebook accounts, bags of children’s stuffed animals, and a yoga book with “young children in suggestive poses.”

The documents say Garcia also admitted to downloading casino-type video games on a cell phone with message and chat capabilities — which is also a violation.

Acadia Health sent KOB 4 the following statement late Tuesday:

“Our hearts go out to this young girl. What this abuser did was horrible. The victim was not in the direct care of Desert Hills or any facility operated by Acadia, but was in a treatment foster care program managed by FamilyWorks, a non-profit organization for whom Desert Hills provided services. The Company is evaluating legal options and intends to challenge the verdict as it relates to the Company.”