BY SONYA HERRERA
Daily Post Staff Writer
The parents who sued after three Mountain View police officers and a Santa Clara County social worker stripped their 5-year-old daughter and examined her private parts for signs of sexual abuse have filed court papers saying they’ll accept a $600,000 settlement.
Danielle and Douglas Lother filed the lawsuit Sept. 19 in the U.S. District Court, naming Mountain View police officers Jason Poirier, Mason Motomura and Matthew Rogers; Joseph Phan, an emergency response social worker with the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services; and American Medical Response (AMR) paramedic Laura Yamada.
On Friday, the Lothers filed a motion asking a judge to approve a $600,000 settlement. The settlement would cover the Lothers’ attorneys fees and does not require any admission of guilt or liability from any of the defendants. The daughter who was stripped would receive about $80,000. Her older sister, who was also questioned by police, would get about $40,000. The Lothers’ attorney, Robert Powell of San Jose, would be paid $40,000. The parents would receive $440,000.
The city of Mountain View would pay $350,000 and the county would pay $200,000, according to the motion. American Medical Response or AMR, whose paramedic Laura Yamada helped examine the girl’s privates, would pay $50,000.
The events began Jan. 25 when the 5-year-old girl was playing on one of the rope swings at Sky High trampoline park, according to the lawsuit. The girl slid down and was injured.
When she got home, she also told her parents, and they asked her if there was any more to it, such as had anyone touched her down there, according to the suit. The girl said no.
Teacher calls CPS
When the girl returned to school on Jan. 28, her teacher initiated a Child Protective Services investigation after she heard her say something about no longer bleeding and “Daddy touching her in her private parts,” according to attorney Powell, who represents the Lothers.
The three Mountain View police officers — Poirier, Motomura and Rogers — and social worker Phan showed up at the Lothers’ home that evening around 5. One of the officers pounded on the door instead of using the doorbell, which startled Danielle enough to think it was a “home invasion,” according to the suit.
The officers asked to speak with the girl, which Danielle allowed without knowing why they were there. The social worker was supposed to tell Danielle why they were there and about the allegations against her and her husband, yet refused to do so even after she asked numerous times, the family claims.
5-year-old questioned by cops
The girl was taken outside and questioned. The 5-year-old told the officers about the incident on the rope swing and that she was not hurting anymore.
When her father, Douglas, got home a few minutes after police arrived, Officer Motomura allegedly said they had received a call concerning the girl, but he did not explain the nature of the call.
The family, including the Lothers’ other daughter, were pulled outside one-by-one and questioned in front of their home, and each repeated the same story of the rope swing, according to the lawsuit.
Danielle offered to call the girl’s pediatrician, but Officer Poirier allegedly refused the offers.
A paramedic was called and asked to come to the home to examine the girl’s body, while Motomura allegedly told the parents that if they did not agree, she could be forcibly removed from their home and care.
Mother told she wasn’t listening
The parents pleaded with the officers to not put their daughter through more trauma.
According to the lawsuit, Motomura “condescendingly” told Danielle at one point, “This shows how you’re not listening.”
This inflamed Danielle, who said, “I’m not listening? What are you talking about!?”
Motomura told her, “You’re doing it again. Are you willing to listen or not, because we are not leaving until this is resolved,” according to the lawsuit.
To which Douglas responded, “Well, it’s not going to happen, so where are you guys sleeping.”
Poirier said they needed to check to make sure the injury was healing properly. The parents said they would take her to the doctor the next day.
Motomura allegedly told them the investigation was going to happen whether the parents liked it or not and told Danielle she was being “disrespectful.”
Both parents said they would go to jail, before their daughter was examined in their living room by a stranger. But they agreed after determining it was the lesser of two evils.
The county’s Child Abuse Protocol for Law Enforcement states that child sexual assault investigations are to take place at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
Girl ‘struggled helplessly’
When the girl was told what was about to happen, she “became hysterical and began begging and crying not to proceed,” according to the suit.
She screamed and “struggled helplessly” as her clothes were removed by her own parents, as they pleaded with Yamada not to examine their daughter, the suit states.
“(She) continued to kick and struggle even more so after her clothes were removed, and her parents were thus forced to hold her arms and legs down and force her legs apart,” the lawsuit states.
When Yamada needed more light, Douglas used the light on his cellphone in what he called a “nightmarish moment.”
Yamada concluded there was nothing wrong with the girl, after commenting, “Well, I’m not a doctor.”
According to the lawsuit, the incident caused the family severe distress, and they had to seek counseling. It took about two months for the children to once again sleep in their own beds and not their parents’ bedroom. The younger daughter had nightmares of the incident and feared being taken away by police.