Father sues Fresno Co. over son’s death
He says Child Protective Services failed boy, 10, who was fatally beaten.
By John Ellis / The Fresno Bee
The father of Seth Ireland, the 10-year-old boy who police said died after he was repeatedly punched, kicked and stomped by his mother’s boyfriend, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Fresno County.
Fresno attorney Warren Paboojian filed the suit Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court on behalf of Joe Hudson.
The bare-bones suit is four pages long and makes several allegations of negligence against Fresno County’s Child Protective Services.
Paboojian declined to comment on the lawsuit, and Catherine Huerta, director of Fresno County Children and Family Services, declined to comment because she has not seen the suit.
Besides Fresno County, the suit also names Rena Ireland, Seth’s mother, but she is not being sued and her inclusion is because wrongful-death lawsuits must include all known heirs.
Crime and courts coverage Seth Ireland died Jan. 6, which police say was eight days after he was beaten and kicked inside his southwest Fresno home.
Rena Ireland, 41, has been charged with child abuse. Her 33-year-old boyfriend, LeBaron Vaughn, who has confessed to beating Seth, has been charged with murder. They are both in Fresno County Jail.
Hudson’s lawsuit says that Seth was a client of Child Protective Services. It says agency officials received “repeated reports of abuse and were given evidence of abuse” of Seth. But, the suit says, the county failed to protect the child and did not remove him from the home and away from Vaughn.
The reported instances of abuse occurred between June 1, 2008, and Seth’s death.
The suit also says the county “intentionally and/or negligently failed to allow [Hudson] to see his dying son in the hospital for an extended period of time after the fatal beating and before the child’s death.”
At the time of Seth’s death, Huerta said her office began looking at the family at the end of August. Hudson had expressed concerns that his son was being beaten, she said at the time.
Police also said Rena Ireland watched the beatings.
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