State awards $500,000 to Father and Estate of Dezirae Sheldon

Dezirae Sheldon was an infant who suffered two broken legs under the care of Dezirae’s mother’s boyfriend, Dennis Duby. Dezirae’s mother, Sandra Eastman, plead guilty to criminal cruelty to a child for her failure to get Dezirae timely medical care. Vermont DCF took Dezirae into state custody after her legs were broken but failed to take the necessary and required steps to keep Dezirae safe. Without having performed the necessary and required actions to keep Dezirae safe, DCF placed Dezirae back into the home of Sandra Eastman and Dennis Duby. DCF never determined who had broken Dezirae’s legs. Willis Sheldon, the father of Dezirae Sheldon, sued the State of Vermont for failure to protect his daughter and for placing his daughter back into the home of Sandra Eastman and Dennis Duby. On November 10, 2016, the State agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the case.

Mr. Sheldon has taken half of this settlement and created a trust for Dezirae’s half-sister in recognition that Dezirae’s sister will be without Dezirae’s love and companionship throughout her life and in hopes that Dezirae’s half-sister will be able to have opportunities and education that Dezirae can no longer enjoy. The trust will be administered by an independent trustee.

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