LaPorte, Ind. — A foster mother has filed a federal lawsuit against three Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) employees alleging they performed “sham investigations” and their actions caused the death of her foster son, Judah Morgan.
Judah Morgan, 4, was brutally beaten, tortured and murdered on October 11, 2021 by his biological father Alan Morgan at the family home in Hamlet, Indiana.
Judah’s mother, Mary Yoder, was also convicted of Neglect of a Dependent resulting in death.
Judah’s foster mother, Jenna Hullett, named the following DCS employees in the lawsuit filed on October 9, 2023 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana:
- Jean Dreessen, Family Case Manager
- Michele Stowers, Family Case Manager Supervisor
- Michelle Goebel, Director of LaPorte County DCS
Goebel supervised Dreessen and Stowers. Stowers supervised Dreessen, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint alleges the DCS employees showed a “reckless and deliberate indifference and intentional disregard of their duties,” which failed Judah Morgan and caused his torture and death.
“Goebel and Stowers were aware of Dreessen’s misconduct and facilitated, approved, condoned, and otherwise turned a blind eye to Dreessen’s misconduct,” read the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses the DCS employees of, “performing sham investigations, downplaying claims and concerns by relatives of abuse and neglect or declaring them unfounded,” and not performing Court ordered drug tests for Judah’s parents.
When Judah was born in 2017, he had drugs in his system and his birth mother tested positive for drugs, according to the lawsuit.
In 2017, Judah’s birth parents had substantiated allegations of neglect and abuse with regard to Judah’s older brother.
DCS took Judah into custody at the hospital, and he became a ward of DCS.
When he was four months old, Judah Morgan was placed with his foster mother Jenna Hullett.
Six months before his murder, in April 2021, Judah was placed for the first time with his birth parents.
The three DCS employees knew Judah was at risk of physical abuse or serious neglect, the lawsuit alleges.
“In addition to Alan Morgan’s domestic violence history, DCS knew that Alan Morgan was ‘a hot head’ with substantiated abuse and neglect and a chronic drug user, but never sought a psychological assessment of Alan Morgan prior to closing the CHINS (Child In Need of Services) case,” read the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges the three DCS employees failed to drug test either birth parent for the last five months prior to closing the case – in violation of DCS policy and a court order.
The three DCS employees are also accused of providing Judah’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) with false and/or misleading information to force a close to Judah’s case.
WRTV Investigates reached out to the employees and DCS for a comment.
“DCS cannot comment on pending litigation,” an agency spokesperson said in an email to WRTV.
According to state online records, Dreessen, Stowers and Goebel are still working for DCS.
This is another legal battle for DCS, which is already facing a lawsuit filed by foster children.
As of October 9, they’ve also just been named as a party in a civil lawsuit filed by Hullett against Judah’s murderer, Alan Morgan.