The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has agreed to pay a developmentally disabled man $8 million for failing to check on him.
Vernon Gray lived with his parents in Seattle, Washington. When both of his parents died, Vernon stayed in the home. “He lived with her (his mother’s) body for a while because he didn’t know what to do,” said Gray’s guardian, Channa Copeland.
Vernon, 64, has an IQ of 60 and was left to fend for himself. “He couldn’t pay his power, he couldn’t pay his water. That all got shut off. So he’d been living, for probably 16 years or so, with no water or sewer or garbage or anything like that,” said Copeland. Neighbors said Vernon’s home became overrun with rats.
Church members and neighbors contacted Adult Protective Services numerous times to tell them about the man living in squalor, but they were told it was too dangerous to go into the home.
On behalf of Vernon, Copeland sued Adult Protective Services for failing to protect him. On Thursday, APS settled for $8 million.