Father of Girl Found Dead in D.C. Home Sues District

By Karen Mahabir
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 9, 2008; 1:26 PM

WASHINGTON -- The father of one of four girls whose bodies were found decomposing in a southeast Washington rowhouse in January has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the city, alleging its agencies failed to adequately handle complaints that the girl was endangered.

Norman C. Penn Jr., of North Carolina, alleges that Brittany Jacks suffered bodily injuries, mental and physical abuse and eventual death as a direct result of the negligence of city employees. He claims in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in District of Columbia Superior Court that the city failed "to properly train, supervise, control, direct, and monitor its employees in their duties and responsibilities."

Brittany Jacks, 16, was the oldest child of Banita Jacks, who has been accused of killing her four daughters and remains held without bond. U.S. Marshals found the girls in Jacks' home while serving an eviction notice Jan. 9. Investigators have not been able to determine when or how the four sisters died because their bodies were so badly decomposed.

Shortly after the bodies were found, Mayor Adrian Fenty fired six Child and Family Services Agency workers, saying they didn't do enough to follow up on complaints about Jacks' care for her daughters.

A spokesman for Fenty's office said Wednesday that the city was reviewing the lawsuit and would respond at a later date.

In a statement, Penn said he wants "to know why the D.C. Government did not work more diligently to find out if my daughter and her sisters were in a safe environment."

Penn's lawyer, Kim Brooks-Rodney, of Cohen & Cohen, a personal injury law firm in Washington, said in a statement that the city had a duty to care for and protect Brittany and that if it had "made reasonable effort to discharge that statutory duty it would have known Brittany was an endangered child."

© 2008 The Associated Press