A mother sued two Fayette County Children and Youth Services officials and a state police supervisor, alleging two of her children were illegally removed from her home for more than 700 days.
The mother, identified only as Samantha M. in the federal filing, named caseworker Andrew Stepanik, an unidentified CYS supervisor and an unidentified state police trooper as defendants.
Her attorney, Joel Sansone, alleged that in October 2016, Stepanik came to her home after receiving a report that her children were being abused, but did not make any findings the children were being abused or neglected.
In November 2016, he visited one of the children at school, Sansone wrote, and accessed the medical records of both children.
Seven months later, Stepanik and a state police trooper came to Samantha M.’s home multiple times, but she was not told why, Sansone contended. He claimed neither police nor CYS indicated they were investigating illegal conduct or abuse.
The suit alleged both children were removed July 6, 2017 with no explanation given to their mother.
Sansone wrote that the mother later found out she was being accused of abuse due to Facebook videos depicting a seemingly dead child on a beach and a child being hung upside down. Sansone indicated in the suit that the children in the videos did not physically resemble Samantha M.’s children as they were subjected to body scans at a local children’s hospital, and no injuries were detected.
After CYS removed the children from their mother’s home and they were placed into another home for care, they were subjected to abuse and neglect by those caregivers, Sansone alleged. According to the suit, Samantha M. found scars and bruises on her children’s’ bodies.
“As the direct result of her children being taken from her, plaintiff Samantha M. suffered severe mental and physical anguish,” Sansone wrote. “Plaintiff Samantha M. was forced to attend several custody hearings where she was accused of abuse with no verifiable evidence to support those accusations.”
The children were returned to her on June 22, 2019, after 716 days away from their home.
A representative from CYS declined comment on the filing.
The suit seeks compensatory damages and special damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses and legal fees.