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Father of murdered Nashua toddler sues state agency

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 25. 2018 9:41PM
Brielle Gage, 3, of Nashua was killed just before Thanksgiving 2015 in Nashua. Her mother was sentenced in 2016 to 45 years to life in prison for the death. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER — The state’s child protective service agency is facing another lawsuit over its handling of child abuse allegations.

Attorney Rus Rilee of Bedford confirmed on Friday that he has filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Superior Court on behalf of the father of 3-year-old Brielle Gage, of Nashua, whose mother is now serving 45 years to life for second-degree murder in the case.

The lawsuit was filed under seal, so none of the details have been made public. Rilee has maintained previously that Gage’s death could have been prevented if not for how the case was handled by the Division for Children, Youth and Families, and its partner agency CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

The parties have settled with CASA, according to Rilee, for an undisclosed amount.

“We have settled with CASA, the terms of which are confidential,” he said. “The case against DCYF is moving forward.”

Rilee also represents the adoptive parents of two children who suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their biological parents, each now serving 25 years to life.

He won a landmark Supreme Court ruling that allowed him to bring that case forward in open court at the behest of the adoptive parents, who want the conduct of DCYF and its partners in the child abuse cases made public.

The details in the Brielle Gage case will eventually be made public as well, he said.

“When the lawsuit is made public, it will detail that Brielle’s death was entirely foreseeable and entirely preventable,” he said.

The lawsuit on behalf of William Boucher Jr., Brielle’s father, is now under seal due to pending appeals in the mother’s murder conviction, according to Rilee.

“It was my client’s desire to ensure that the filing of this lawsuit did not in any way negatively impact the appeals process with respect to the murder conviction of Brielle’s mother,” said Rilee. “This lawsuit will be unsealed once the criminal appeals process has played out.”

Boucher does not want anything in the lawsuit to be used to the mother’s advantage in her appeals process, Rilee said.

Rilee also represents the family of Sadee Willott, a Manchester 21-month-old whose case was also under DCYF jurisdiction when she was murdered by her mother in 2015.

The two cases were among the child fatalities that triggered an extensive review of DCYF, child protection statutes, funding and procedures over the past two years.

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