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Oklahoma Department of Human Services to pay part of $1.1 million settlement to young man sexually molested in foster care

Oklahoma DHS officials declined to reveal the state's share after they voted to pay part of the settlement.
BY NOLAN CLAY AND ROBBY TRAMMELL Published: October 26, 2011
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A confidential report on the DHS investigation of the foster father, Paul Stephen Hull, revealed a DHS worker found Hull's lover there alone with another foster boy on Feb. 3, 2006. The man would not give his full name, and the foster father later lied about him.

The worker also found the four boys at the home had unrestricted access to prescription medicine and dangerous tools such as saws, hammers and an ax.

The DHS worker and a Shadow Mountain official met with Hull that night and warned him not to have his friend in the home, according to the confidential report. The foster children were removed for the weekend.

The victim was returned to the house after a few days. The victim later said his foster father's friend, Erwin Swender, was in the house “the entire time that he had been back and that Steve wadded up the safety plan that stated Erwin was not to be in the home or around the kids and threw it in the trash.”

The confidential report shows DHS workers left the victim at the home even after they began to suspect on Feb. 6, 2006, that Hull's friend was Swender.

The workers knew then that Swender had been institutionalized as a teenager for killing a child and that Swender was in the process of losing his parental rights to seven of his own children.

The victim was removed from the foster home for good after he confided to a therapist on Feb. 13, 2006, that he had been sexually assaulted multiple times. The victim said the two men called him and boys his age their “candy.”

In other action Tuesday, commissioners set aside $1 million more to pay private attorneys who are fighting a federal class-action lawsuit filed against the agency. DHS already has paid outside attorneys more than $6 million to defend the lawsuit.

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