- Special Sections
- Public Notices
A Shelbyville family has filed suit against three social workers from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services, alleging they concealed a history of sexual abuse involving two male children they adopted and who later molested their adoptive sisters.
The suit was filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court by Beverly and James Hilger of Shelby County on behalf of her daughter, Ashley, now 17, whom they adopted at age 5, and two other minor children.
Named in the suit were Cabinet workers Bonnie Hommrick of Nashville and Desiree Rhodes and William Hardin of Louisville. The Cabinet itself was not named.
Louisville attorney William McMurry, representing the Hilgers, on Tuesday held a press conference during which Beverly and Ashley Hilger spoke of details of the suit.
Cabinet officials did not respond immediately to phone messages seeking comment.
Jose Rodriquez, 24, and Angel Pargas, 20, brothers by birth, had been removed in 1999 from their birth family, later placed in foster care under the authority of the Cabinet for and offered for adoption through a local television program called Wednesday’s Child, the suit says.
Between 2004 and 2005, the boys, while in the custody of the Cabinet and under the care of foster parents, were subjected to repeated sexual abuse and exposed to inappropriate behaviors, the suit says.
It maintains that the Cabinet documented the history of their sexual behaviors between 2000 and 2004, then in Feb. 2004 or before, Beverly Hilger saw the television show and the boys, then 11 and 15 years old, being offered for adoption, and contacted the Cabinet to learn more about adopting them.
In 2007, the Hilgers learned that Ashley was being molested by one or both of the boys, and in 2010, learned the other girls were being molested.
Jose Rodriguez, is jailed at the Shelby County Detention Center on charges of first-degree sexual abuse as entered by a court commitment order.
“His conduct rises to the level of a felony, for which he is being prosecuted in Shelby County,” McMurry said. “It’s not like you can just trade these children back in. When you learn you’ve got children in your family that are boys, that are preying on the girls, you can’t just kick them out.
“You have to see that they’re reported to the agency and arrested, but you don’t stop loving them. That doesn’t change.”
Hilger appeared during the press conference along with Ashley and discussed the circumstances of the law suit. She was not available to be interviewed separately.