The court-appointed guardian of a 6-year-old foster child is suing two state agencies, several adoption entities and two sets of foster and adoptive parents, claiming the child suffered a horrific ordeal while in foster care.
The allegations include the girl being submerged in scalding water and placed in the home of a pedophile, even as the state repeatedly ignored warnings of abuse and failed to protect her.
The complaint, which was filed on behalf of the child, alleged that after removing her from her mother’s care, the state placed her in a home where “criminals ran pornographic rings, (and) sexually abused children entrusted in their care.”
The complaint said caseworkers failed at every turn to protect the child by not investigating and supervising her placement in a house that turned out to be a “den of physical abuse and violence,” and later in “another place of domestic violence, mental and physical abuse.”
According to the complaint, the state removed the child from her biological mother’s home in April 2013 and placed her with Cochise County residents David and Barbara Frodsham in June of that year. It alleges that multiple complaints were made about abuse at the home, that “nothing was done to protect the children placed there,” and that the abuses included using foster children in a pornographic pedophile ring.
During the child’s placement with the Frodshams, her biological mother repeatedly raised concerns about her daughter’s safety, saying her daughter feared men, insisted on being driven back to the foster home by a female driver and would cry when she had to return there.
The complaint said instead of investigating the claims, caseworkers accused the mother of making false allegations and of instilling the fear of men in her child.
The child was finally removed from the Frodshams’ care in January 2015 following the arrest of David Frodsham for driving under the influence. According to the complaint, he was at a state office getting foster benefits and was visibly drunk and belligerent. When the police were called, they found the child and another minor in a parked vehicle.
Later, Frodsham was accused of sexual conduct with a minor, procuring minors for sex, and manufacturing child pornography. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
But far from being over, the child’s ordeal would only escalate, according to the complaint.
It said the state placed her in the care of Pima County residents Justin and Samantha Osteraas, despite having been warned by a relative that the home would be a “danger” to children.
It alleges that four days after Christmas in 2016, Samantha Osteraas “submerged and held (her) down… in a bath of scalding hot water.” The child, who was then 5, suffered burns on over 80 percent of her body, and when the police arrived at the scene, they found blood on the floor and pieces of her skin was “falling off her body.”
The complaint said she had to be placed in a medically induced coma, as she was suffering from multiple organ failure. She also lost her toes and would have to undergo operations to replace her skin. She will also need lifelong care as a result of the abuses she suffered, the complaint said.
The Department of Child Safety had no immediate comment at our deadline.