Attorneys for an Irving mother whose three children drowned in a swimming pool have filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against the Dallas County Child Protective Services Unit of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Service.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Patricia Allen, alleges a violation of her 14th Amendment right to due process, and says CPS continues to seek termination of Allen’s parental rights despite knowing allegations against her are false.
Allen’s 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were taken into CPS custody after her other three children, ages 9, 10 and 11, drowned while swimming at an Irving apartment complex pool on June 24.
After the incident, police said they were investigating reports a witness may have seen Allen on her cell phone. According to the lawsuit, on July 21, law enforcement informed a CPS employee that, "the phone records showed Ms. Allen received some texts and a missed call but there were not outgoing texts or calls."
The lawsuit alleges CPS knew Allen was not using her cell phone while at the pool, but the agency continued to pursue termination of her parental rights.
Included with the lawsuit is a September email Allen’s attorneys claim is from CPS; it shows the agency admitted it had no concrete evidence against Allen, according to the lawsuit.
The email reads in part, "if any of the attorneys were in agreement with a monitored return to support this as this removal was shaky to begin with despite the gravity of three children dying. LE [Law Enforcement] has gone back on what they originally said which was that the mother was on her phone. This is what gave us the green light for the writ. We now know she wasn’t on her phone and actually didn’t respond to texts during this time."
The lawsuit also claims her children did know how to swim, and CPS was aware of the fact as well.
Within the lawsuit is a request for a preliminary injunction to return Allen’s two youngest children back home. The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages for mental anguish and emotional distress.