Father files lawsuit against state social workers

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comApril 19, 2013 

A Northern Kentucky man filed a federal lawsuit against two state social workers, accusing them of violating his rights in an "arbitrary and malicious abuse of power.''

The lawsuit, filed April 9 in U.S. District Court in Covington, names Georgetown social worker Geri Purvis and Lisa Prewitt, described as a social worker supervisor in Florence, as defendants.

The lawsuit says Purvis initiated the removal of the man's children from his home after his son, who was mentally ill and hospitalized, accused him of sexual abuse.

A special prosecutor dismissed charges of sexual abuse and neglect, and a court ordered that the children be returned home, the complaint said. Purvis filed a document saying the allegations were substantiated. That resulted in the father's name being placed on a list of those who have been substantiated for physical or sexual abuse, the complaint said.

The son who made the allegations was in the Cabinet's custody. The father provided consent to allow the child to receive medical treatment for mental illness and drug dependency, according to the lawsuit.

The Herald-Leader typically does not name individuals in cases in which sexual abuse is alleged.

Cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said Cabinet officials are aware of "the investigation that is at the core" of the father's complaint. She said no disciplinary action was taken against the social workers. Midkiff said the Cabinet would defend the employees in the court case. She declined to comment further.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.

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