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WSHU's ongoing coverage of issues surrounding Connecticut's Department of Children and Families.

Couple Sues Child Welfare Commissioner Over Wrongful Sex Abuse Charges

State of Connecticut

A lawsuit has been filed against the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families over criminal sexual abuse charges that were brought against a gay couple who adopted 9 children from DCF.

In 2011, Douglas Wirth and George Harasz were accused of sexually abusing two of their adopted sons. In 2014, Wirth was found not guilty, and the case against Harasz was dismissed because one of the boys would not take the stand and the state lacked evidence.

Harasz and Wirth are suing DCF commissioner Joette Katz, a DCF social worker who managed the boys’ case, and officials from the Glastonbury Police Department.

Their lawsuit was filed this week. It says that the couple told DCF that they would not adopt any boys who had histories of sexual abuse. The lawsuit also says that DCF concealed information that the boys who accused them had been sexually abused, and had sexually assaulted other foster kids before they were adopted.

DCF would not comment on the ongoing lawsuit.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.