D.C. to pay $2.6 million in deaths of 4 children slain by Banita Jacks

May 31, 2013

The District will pay $2.6 million to settle a lawsuit brought in the deaths of four children slain by their mother, Banita Jacks, in a case that prompted intense scrutiny of the city’s child-welfare system.

According to Friday’s announcement, the money will go to those the city described as the legal heirs of the children’s estates. Their names could not immediately be learned.

As part of the settlement, the D.C. attorney general’s office said, those who had sued have agreed to donate part of the money to Safe Shores — the DC Children’s Advocacy Center, a nonprofit charity devoted to the needs of abused and neglected children.

The children’s deaths evoked outrage and horror. The remains of the girls, ages 5 to 16, were found Jan. 9, 2008, in Jacks’s house in the 4200 block of Sixth Street SE.

Pathologists concluded that they had been dead for at least seven months. The eldest appeared to have been stabbed, and the other three had been beaten and strangled, autopsies found.

After the discovery, six Child and Family Services Agency employees were dismissed. Then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said they had not responded properly to a school social worker’s warnings about Jacks in 2007. Three were later ordered reinstated.

Under the settlement, the attorney general’s office said, $1,012,500 each will go to the estates of Aja Fogle, 5, and N’Kiah Fogle, 6; $375,000 to the estate of Tatiana Jacks, 11; and $200,000 to the estate of Brittany Jacks, 16.

The office said the settlement requires the plaintiffs to pay $245,000 to set up special needs and education trusts for living siblings and cousins of the deceased children. Also, $260,000 must be donated to the Safe Shores organization. A “substantial amount” will be deducted from the settlement for the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, according to a release from the attorney general’s office.

D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan said the case was settled to avoid the uncertainties of litigation and to speed closure of a painful experience for the family and the District.

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