Centralia’s Kiwanis Vocational Home, open from 1979 to 1994, was intended to be a safe place for wayward boys, a state-licensed foster home where 11- to 17-year-olds could get an education and job skills in a “family atmosphere,” according to a 1986 Chronicle article. However, four lawsuits from former residents paint an alarmingly different picture. “This was a pedophile farm,” said attorney Darrell Cochran, of Tacoma, who represents plaintiffs in all four cases, two of which were filed Tuesday. The lawsuits each allege physical, sexual and emotional abuse by both staff and residents of the home, intentional understaffing with unqualified workers and financial fraud and negligence by staff and state agencies, including the state Department of Social and Health Services, which licensed the facility. “These individual defendants continued to support KVH despite clear evidence that it was a breeding ground for sexual abuse and sexually charged physical abuse,” the lawsuit states. Furthermore, Cochran said evidence gathered in the cases shows conspiracy rife with “political corruption” with the facility acting to conceal allegations of abuse while continuing to profit from state reimbursements for services.

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