Lawsuit alleges 4-year-old boy was abused under CYFD custody

Lawsuit alleges boy was abused under CYFD custody

A lawsuit filed this week alleges physical and sexual abuse, negligence, and a violation of a four-year-old boy's civil rights.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A lawsuit filed this week accuses CYFD and the Bair Foundation of failing to protect a boy from physical and sexual abuse. The lawsuit claims that local foster parents – licensed by the state – severely abused a four-year-old boy.

“The boy was born to parents who struggled with drug addiction and because of that, he was in and out of CYFD custody,” said attorney Levi Monagle.

The lawsuit says CYFD investigated the biological parents for physical and medical neglect in 2018 and 2021. The department took him from them in 2021 and placed him in a treatment foster home despite his grandparents asking for custody.

“This boy has heightened needs, partially because he was born drug-exposed. Has some heightened treatment needs and so that may have been CYFD’s logic, but his grandparents were asking to take him and they were not allowed to take him,” Monagle said.

The boy went in and out of CYFD custody again before the department and the Bair Foundation placed him in another treatment foster home.

The lawsuit alleges within three months the young boy went to the hospital with severe injuries.

“The foster parents told the doctors he had fallen down the stairs, but the doctors quickly determined his injuries were not consistent with a fall,” Monagle said.

The lawsuit says the injuries were consistent with “blunt force trauma to his abdomen.” It says the boy told a nurse “Nate pulls my tongue,” and “Nate hits and kicks me.” He also disclosed sexual abuse.

“The CYFD investigation substantiated the allegations of abuse of this boy,” Monagle said.

The boy went through multiple surgeries and stayed in the hospital for more than two months.

“If kids come out of CYFD custody more damaged, more broken, more beaten than when they went in, that is going to have ripple effects in our society, in our community,” Monagle said. “There has to be additional inquiry, right, and there has to be additional accountability. Until the folks running CYFD get the message, the status quo is just not good enough.”

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the foster parents, CYFD, and the Bair Foundation.

“He never needed to be in this foster home, he could’ve been with his grandparents,” Monagle said. “And somebody needs to answer for that.”

The attorney says the boy is now living safely and happily with his grandparents.

A CYFD rep said they can’t discuss pending litigation. KOB 4 reached out to the Bair Foundation, but we haven’t heard back.