weather icon Clear

Clark County OKs settlement with mother of raped foster child

Updated November 19, 2018 - 6:03 pm

Ashley’s son celebrated his 12th birthday last month, but to his mother it sometimes seems like he is so much older.

The boy, once outgoing, is now quiet and reserved to the point that his teachers bring it up to his mother .

Ashley traces it all back to Valentine’s Day 2017, the day an older boy raped her son at a Las Vegas group home for foster children.

“He wasn’t the son that I knew,” she said. “It’s almost like he had been in prison.”

Ashley and her son are suing the Eagle Quest foster care agency, company owners Ivan Ray Tippetts and Leslie Tippetts, and Clark County, which licenses foster homes. The Review-Journal is not publishing Ashley’s last name to protect the identity of her son.

According to the lawsuit, the boy was 10 when he was raped. His foster parents are accused of shirking training and security protocols required to run a group home for treating juvenile sex offenders.

“They were literally asleep when this thing happened, and they had their door shut,” said the family’s attorney, Andre Lagomarsino. “They are housing sex offenders together; they need to be following heightened procedures.”

County officials declined to comment on the case, but this month county commissioners voted to pay a $75,000 settlement to the family.

Eagle Quest operations director David Doyle said the county investigated the foster home following the attack and found no licensing violations. The foster care agency is fully cooperating with authorities in the ongoing lawsuit.

“We have confidence and faith in the judicial proceedings,” he said.

The boy entered foster care in August 2016 after he allegedly sexually assaulted his younger sister, according to court filings.

The first foster home that the county placed him in was in North Las Vegas. It too was run by Eagle Quest, a private, for-profit agency that operates dozens of licensed foster homes in Nevada.

Lagomarsino said the boy was taken from his family because the county’s Department of Juvenile Justice Services forbade him from sharing a home with his younger sister, and he had no one else in Las Vegas to live with.

Ashley said that November she left her four other children in the care of their live-in grandfather and moved into a Siegel Suites apartment to get her son out of foster care. But she ran out of money for rent less than two weeks later, and the boy was returned to Eagle Quest’s custody.

“Endless times I begged and pleaded for us to go down different avenues,” she said. “The answer was always no.”

After living at Siegel Suites, the boy was sent to a Las Vegas group home near the intersection of Smoke Ranch Road and Decatur Boulevard. He shared a room with a 14-year-old boy.

According to the lawsuit, the teenage boy had not received a juvenile psychosexual evaluation. The lawsuit also accuses the home’s foster parents, Shera Williams and Tomisha Horn, of not having the minimum training to become foster parents.

The teenager raped the younger boy early Valentine’s Day in the closet of their shared bedroom.

The younger boy reported the attack to his foster parents later that morning. Ashley said her phone rang shortly after 5 a.m. One of the foster parents was on the line, crying and apologizing.

“I felt like life was sucked out of me,” Ashley said. “I was catatonic.”

Following the attack, the boy was treated at Sunrise Hospital and released back into his mother’s care.

The family has since moved to Texas. Sister and brother are once again living under the same roof.

Ashley said she still does not know why her son was allowed to come home only after the attack. But she is confident that the deck is stacked against families that don’t have the resources to rehouse their children.

“It took this to happen for my son to be free, and I never got an answer why,” she said. “It all could have been prevented.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misidentified Siegel Suites. The article has been updated to reflect the business rents apartments.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
'Evangelicals for Trump' event draws hundreds to Las Vegas hotel - VIDEO
Hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters packed the Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas for a faith-based campaign event. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak names new DETR director, head of unemployment task force - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak named Elisa Cafferata acting director of Nevada’s Department of Training, Employment and Rehabilitation and announced Barbara Buckley as the leader of a rapid response team on unemployment insurance at a press briefing Thursday afternoon. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak unveils long-term COVID-19 plan with Nevada Health Response team - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday a long-term strategy for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada through a targeted approach. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak: Bars in four counties to stay closed - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said bars in four counties, including Clark County, will remain closed to help fight COVID-19. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
COVID-19 case reported at Legislature's special session - Video
A person who was inside the Nevada Legislature Building has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Brenda Erdoes said Friday, July 10. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump Pushing for Reopening Schools and In-Person Learning - Video
Donald Trump launched an effort on Wednesday to reopen schools across the United States with in-person learning.
Special session to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lawmakers to tackle $1.2B budget deficit in special session Wednesday - VIDEO
Closing the state’s $1.2 billion budget hole will be the prime focus of the upcoming special legislative session that will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Carson City, according to a proclamation issued by Gov. Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Democratic leaders resign
Several key Clark County Democratic Party leaders have resigned as progressive leadership has swelled in recent months.
Dream Big Nevada celebrates DACA ruling - VIDEO
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections under DACA for 650,000 young immigrants. Astrid Silva, founder of Dream Big Nevada, discusses the temporary victory and the next step for Dreamers.
Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of city council meeting - Video
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore walks out of a City Council meeting during public comments.
Mitt Romney marches in Washington, D.C., protest - Video
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah joined a group of protesters marching through Washington, D.C. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)