A former Glastonbury couple accused and later cleared of sexually abusing their foster children has filed a $100 million lawsuit in connection with the case.
George Harasz and Douglas Wirth adopted nine boys, including three groups of brothers, between 2000 and 2008. They were arrested on sexual assault charges in 2011 and were cleared in 2014.
According to a complaint filed Monday in Hartford Superior Court, the couple were "heralded as heroic foster and adoptive parents" because sibling groups can be difficult to place.
Since they were also raising Wirth's biological son and daughter, the couple made it clear they did not want to take in children with histories of sexual abuse.
Nonetheless, the Department of Children and Families "deliberately hid the first boys' sexualized past from Haraz and Writh," according to the complaint, which claims four of the couple's adopted children had sexually abused other kids in previous foster homes.
The child at the center of the allegations, a 15-year-old boy identified in the lawsuit only as "Doe #4," had "pathological problems" and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the complaint. He later admitted to lying and recanted the claim that Harasz had sexually abused him.
The complaint alleges DCF "mistakenly believed the outlandish lies of a troubled teen" who had "pathological problems" and had previously accused a DCF social worker and juvenile court judge of fondling him.
It claims the DCF system "is designed to convict people accused of child sexual abuse; it does not exist to protect falsely accused people, and in this case was used to fabricate a case that was not based on facts."
Wirth was found not guilty in September 2014. A month later, the court dismissed all charges against Harasz. Their parental rights had already been terminated.
According to the compaint, Wirth and Harasz "went through years of costly hell," losing their jobs, children and home as the result of "an incomplete, misleading and biased investigation."
They're now suing DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, DCF social worker Elizabeth Ferreira, the town of Glastonbury and two members of the Glastonbury Police Department who were involved in the investigation.
Harasz and Wirth are seeking at least $100 million in damages and a trial by jury.