TULSA — The state has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after a 2-year-old Sperry boy died with his mouth taped shut and hands bound by a child care provider, The Oklahoman has learned. The state made the first $625,000 payment of the settlement Friday to the parents of Joshua Minton and their attorney, Daniel Graves, according to Office of State Finance records. A second payment of $75,000 is due in August, a source told The Oklahoman. The payment was split to accommodate the state Department of Human Services, which is struggling to deal with budget reductions, the source said. August is in the state’s next fiscal year. Joshua died May 17, 2007, after Vicki Chiles, a Tulsa home child care provider, taped his mouth shut and bound his hands because he wouldn’t stop whining at nap time, she said. Chiles was convicted of first-degree murder for Joshua’s death and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Joshua’s parents filed their damage claim against DHS, alleging the agency was negligent in failing to notify parents or close the child care center despite knowing she had "recently beaten another child in her facility.” The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth reviewed DHS’ actions after the death and found the agency should have ordered the immediate closure of Chiles’ home after she admitted to DHS workers on April 13, 2007, that she had struck an 8-year-old boy with a fly swatter. An online registry of child care workers who have had confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect filed against them is being named after Joshua as part of the settlement agreement. The agreement called for most of its terms to be kept confidential, but the Office of State Finance released the amount of the payment in response to a state open records request. DHS will pay $150,000 of the settlement amount from agency funds and the rest will come from state self-insurance funds.
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