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Legislators vow to get payments to abused Barahona child

Several influential South Florida legislators said Monday they will not let a legal technicality stand in the way of getting payments to the victim of one of the most horrific child abuse cases in state history.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said she “won’t rest” until Victor Barahona and his new parents get the $3.75 million they are owed after he was found near death alongside his twin sister’s decomposing body after years of abuse warnings to the state went unheeded.

The payment is part of a $5 million settlement agreed to by the Department of Children and Families in 2013, but Flores, and a bi-partisan group of lawmakers, face an uphill battle getting the money to the family.

Senate President Andy Gardiner told the Herald/Times on Monday that he stands by the recommendation of his general counsel George Levesque who, along with DCF, wants the settlement payments put on indefinite hold. Even though the state agreed to not interfere with the legislation as part of the settlement, the lawyers now argue that passage of legislation could hurt the state’s attempt to fight two other child abuse lawsuits by two other Barahona children. Story (please consider subscribing) here.