20 foster boys are suing Clearwater nursing home, DCF, Guardian Ad Litem program

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – In January, 8 On Your Side broke the news to you about a Clearwater foster home from which nine foster children were removed by government officials out of concern for their safety and wellbeing. We have new information about the allegations that have been made regarding the care home and the couple who run it, and for the first time we are hearing from the couple’s lawyer who is defending their clients.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families, the state’s child protection agency, is supposed to be putting children at risk and moving them to a safe place, but a newly filed civil lawsuit alleges that may not be the case.

Jacklyn and Jerold Logeman’s big home is on a quiet street in Clearwater. For decades, state employees have housed boys there who live with the Logemanns, boys who have no other place to stay. While some praise the Logemanns for the children they have taken into their care, there have been claims that there could have been somewhere better.

On January 6th In 2023, the Clearwater Police Department announced that they had opened an investigation into child neglect at the Logemann home. The investigating officer writes that a Child Protection Investigator, or CPI, from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was already at the scene when he arrived. The Clearwater officer took statements, but no one was arrested and no children were removed from the home.

Then, three days later, on January 9, the report said the CPI had asked the Clearwater Police Department to return to the Logemann home. This time, the investigator asked Clearwater officials to help remove all nine foster children over allegations of sexual violence, but the investigation soon reached an impasse.

Clearwater Police Commissioner Dan Slaughter shared this statement: “At this time detectives conducted multiple interviews and are unable to confirm allegations of criminal conduct. The case has been deactivated. If additional information or evidence is developed, the case will be reopened.”

Attorney Rick Escobar is representing the Logemanns.

“Now you have Rick Escobar, you have the Department of Children and Family Services, and you have the Clearwater Police Department,” Escobar said. “You got three of us to say that this investigation has no legs.”

The allegations in the Clearwater Police Report mirror the allegations in the newly filed civil complaint.

I don’t want other children to ever have to face what I went through,” said Chevonte Thomas, plaintiff.

This is the first time Thomas tells his story. Thomas said he had lived with the Logemanns for two years since 2009.

I’ve never been asked, ‘Do you feel safe?’” Thomas said. “I’ve never been asked, ‘Are they feeding you well?’ I was never asked, ‘Do you need anything?’”

Thomas is one of 20 former foster boys suing the Logemanns, the Department of Children and Families, the Guardian Ad Litem program and other private case management companies and child welfare programs.

“It could have been stopped when I complained that nobody did anything about it,” said Jonathan Feyes, plaintiff. “I’m 37 and I still have nightmares.”

Feyes is also speaking for the first time. Feyes said he lived with the Logemanns for four years, starting when he was 9.

When investigators spoke to Jacklyn Logemann about allegations of abuse on January 6, 2023, the Clearwater Police Report states: “Contact was then made with Jacklyn Logemann, who was able to provide a statement. Jacklyn Logemann explained that she does not abuse or neglect the children anyway. Jacklyn Logemann also shared that her foster children like it there so much that she has several adult foster children who still live in her home.”

Attorney Adam Hecht is representing Thomas and Feyes.

“I kept hearing from everyone that it was in the ’90s, 2000s, mid-2000s to now,” Hect said. “The stories, while not identical, were very similar and there was a pattern that I was starting to see and these guys have no reason, these guys and men have no reason to know each other. Many of them have never lived together.”

Hecht said his lawsuit was a fight for justice.

The January incident was immediately recognized by DCF that something was wrong. The agency told us, “The Department is initiating a review of this House’s licensing process and related concerns with our contract providers, as well as our own internal processes.”

Since then, the state authority has been silent about the status of these investigations or the Logemann license, despite our almost two dozen public file requests since January. A rep would just tell us, “We’ll get you an update soon.” We’re still waiting.

Escobar said this case not only harms its customers but also the system.

When asked if its customers relinquished their license or had it revoked, Escobar said, “They relinquished their license. They don’t want to be foster parents anymore.”

Escobar said the foster parents are now hiring another law firm to defend them against the civil suit.

I’m sure the civil attorneys will have the opportunity to actually depose them under oath.”

Clearwater Police said the case is inactive but not closed pending additional evidence or a statement from the Logemanns.

There are currently no criminal charges against the Logemanns or anyone else associated with this case. There is only one civil action.

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