In 2016, a 15 year-old girl attended a “Movie Night in the Park” at Snohomish County’s Willis Tucker Park. That summer evening, over 1800 people showed up at the Park, including upwards of 200-300 unsupervised teens. Investigation revealed that Snohomish County failed to have in place appropriate security staff or off-duty law enforcement to ensure the safety of all attendees at the event. The County also failed to have in place policies requiring that minors be accompanied a parent or guardian. In the absence of such protective measures, on that August evening some 200-300 teenagers were able to openly consume intoxicants without fear of getting caught.
In this setting, an older male predator plied the young girl with alcohol and drugs. She was incoherent, and stumbling when the Snohomish County Parks Director found her, and walked this dangerously intoxicated young girl to the Park entrance to “call her Mom.” The older male predator offered to walk the young girl home. Upon hearing the predator’s offer, the Parks Director inexplicably left this young girl alone to wait for her Mother. With no one to stop him, the older male predator dragged her off into the distance and sexually assaulted her.
The girl and her Mother brought suit against Snohomish County to serve as a wake-up call for Snohomish County Parks. The family was represented by trial attorney Julie A. Kays who recently joined Friedman | Rubin as of-counsel. After the brave young client came forward, Snohomish County Parks changed its policies to increase security and it now requires that minors be accompanied by an adult or guardian when attending a Movie Night. The courage of this young girl and her Mother to fight for civil justice and to bring about much needed change was inspiring.
In addition to the positive changes from the County, Julie A. Kays obtained a $1.95 million settlement on behalf the girl and her Mother. Local news reports of the settlement include the following: The Herald.