Steven Powell faces lawsuit

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:36 PM

Phuong Le

SEATTLE— Seattle attorneys on Tuesday filed a $20 million wrongful death claim against Washington state in the deaths of Josh Powell’s sons, days after Powell’s father was sued for illegally filming two neighbor girls in their bathroom in Puyallup, Wash.

The girls’ mother sued Steven Powell last week in Pierce County Superior Court for undisclosed damages. The civil lawsuit alleges the young girls suffered severe emotional distress as a result of Powell’s watching, filming and keeping video and images of them without their consent.

The girls were about 8 and 10 when the images were recorded. They testified in May they had no idea someone might film them as they washed, got dressed or used the toilet in their second-floor bathroom.

Powell was convicted in May of 14 voyeurism counts and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who is representing the mother, said they want to get records pertaining to the investigation, cover the girls’ counseling costs, make sure Steven Powell doesn’t have future contact with the girls, and block the release of voyeuristic images of the girls.

"We have pretty discrete and modest goals, but we were just seeking future justice for this family," Bremner said Tuesday.

It was unclear whether Steven Powell had an attorney in the civil case. Calls to his attorneys in the voyeurism case were not immediately returned.

Meanwhile, Bremner and attorney James S. Rogers filed a claim against Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of Susan Powell, who went missing in 2009. A guardian ad litem has been appointed to present her.

The claim alleges that the state agency failed to monitor, investigate and act in the children’s best interest and that two boys suffered abuse, neglect, mistreatment and death while under the care of DSHS.

Josh Powell violently killed his kids during a supervised visit earlier this year.

"We will be conducting extensive discovery to follow up on the facts we’ve learned about the actions of DSHS," Rogers said in a statement. "It is clear that DSHS knew or should have known about the danger Josh Powell presented to the safety of his children and failed to take actions that could have prevented this tragedy."

DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley declined to comment on the claim, saying the agency hadn’t reviewed it.

Susan Powell disappeared from her Utah home in 2009. Her husband, Josh, was a focus of the investigation until he killed himself and the couple’s two children in a February fire.

Steven Powell was arrested last year after authorities investigating Susan Powell’s disappearance searched his home in Washington state. Investigators discovered computer disks with what they described as thousands of images of women and girls who seemed unaware they were being photographed, including the neighbor girls.

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