$8.5 million awarded in Calif. boy's death

Social worker failed to protect boy

FRESNO, Calif. -  

A Fresno County jury has awarded $8.5 million in a lawsuit alleging county social workers failed to protect a 10-year-old boy who was fatally beaten by his mother's boyfriend.
 
   The civil jury handed down its verdict on Friday, awarding $5 million to 10-year-old Seth Ireland's father, Joseph Hudson, and $3.5 million to the boy's half-brother.
 
   Jurors said the county was mostly to blame for Seth's 2009 death although they also assigned blame to his mother, Rena Ireland, and her boyfriend, LeBaron Vaughn.
 
   Vaughn was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in 2011. Ireland was also convicted and sentenced in the case.
 
   Hudson claimed social workers investigated reports of abuse before his son's death, but allowed the child to remain in the home.
 
   A call to a county spokesman was not immediately returned.
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