Two children who complained of being sexually molested at Purcell’s now-defunct Dragon’s Den Childcare and Preschool will receive a combined $187,500 as a result of lawsuit settlements. One child will be paid $111,250; the other will receive $76,250, The Oklahoman has learned. The names of the children were not disclosed in public court documents because they are juveniles. Families of the two children filed civil lawsuits against Dragon’s Den last year, alleging their children were sexually molested by Richard Rogers, the husband of Dragon’s Den owner Cindy Rogers. The families alleged that five other children reported being molested at Dragon’s Den in October 2006, but the state Department of Human Services and Purcell Police Department failed to properly investigate the complaints and take action to prevent further abuse. DHS didn’t step in to close the facility until July 6, 2007 — the day after a reporter for The Oklahoman met with a DHS supervisor in Purcell to ask why stronger action had not been taken in light of multiple abuse allegations against the center. DHS will pay each child $12,500, and the city of Purcell’s insurer will pay each child $3,750 as part of the settlement. The rest payments will be the responsibility of Dragon’s Den, Richard and Cindy Rogers, or their insurance company, The Oklahoman has learned. The settlement contained no admission of wrongdoing. Robert Haupt, attorney for the children’s families, said settling the case saved the children from the trauma of having to relive their experiences by testifying in a courtroom. Even though the state and the city denied liability, Haupt said he thinks civil lawsuits like these are important because they can "encourage, if not force” officials to make changes in their policies and procedures. David Kirk, Purcell’s attorney, said he doesn’t think police officers or the city did anything wrong, but it was cheaper to settle the case than fight it.
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