Portland attorney David Paul is arguing that the Department of Human Services could have saved Jeanette Maples from her untimely and horrific end. Maples was 15-years-old when she was found murdered at the hands of her parents in 2009. Lane County officials have since described the teen’s death as one of the worst cases of torture and abuse they have ever seen. After pleading guilty to the aggravated murder of her daughter, Jeanette’s mother, Angela McAnulty, is on Oregon’s death row and her stepfather, Richard McAnulty, is serving life in prison for murder by abuse.
The $1.5 million lawsuit alleges the State of Oregon failed to investigated multiple allegations of abuse stretching back to 2006 and a documented history of prior child abuse in California. An internal Department of Human Services investigation (pdf) was also critical of the incident team that handled the case.
Under Oregon Law, as Jeanette’s lone qualified heir a majority of the lawsuit’s damages would go to her father, Anthony Maples. He had not been in touch with his daughter for a decade prior to her death. From 1990-2008, Anthony Maples has had nine drug possession convictions, five of which included methamphetamine charges. According to a June 2010 petition to represent Jeanette’s estate, Maples has been sober for 16 months.
What’s your reaction to Jeanette Maples death? To the lawsuit? What lessons do you think officials should take from this incident?