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Parents sue after adoption soured; suit says violent son 'ruined' their lives

Parents sue after adoption soured; suit says violent son 'ruined' their lives

A San Rafael, Calif., couple have filed suit against Marin County, saying that officials concealed t

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- A San Rafael couple have filed suit against Marin County, saying that officials concealed the troubled and violent past of their now-teenage adopted son and that the boy has "ruined'' their lives.

Janet and Simon Boddington accused the county and an adoption worker, Kim Contreras, of committing fraud by failing to disclose that the boy exhibited violent and "bizarre" behavior before they adopted him when he was 8 years old.

That behavior was a warning that the boy, now 14, could develop severe psychological problems, the couple said in their suit. The boy now requires constant care, and the Boddingtons want the county to pay the cost.

"If she had been candid, Contreras would at all events have led the Boddingtons to reject (the boy) as a risk for severe mental illness far beyond that which they had the resources or physical and emotional strength to manage,'' according to the suit, filed Jan. 8 in Marin County Superior Court.

The teen cannot be left alone and now lives in a residential care facility, returning home only on weekends. He requires 24-hour supervision.

"We love (the boy) dearly, but he's so sick that on many levels the county has ruined our lives,'' Janet Boddington said in a statement provided by her attorney. "We don't want this to happen to anyone else.''

The couple are seeking compensation so they can take care of the boy, as well as damages for emotional distress and their health problems exacerbated by the pressure of dealing with the teenager, the suit said.

Simon Boddington is 75 and retired; Janet is 53 and a full-time secretary who works for the county.

County officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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