Texas parents file lawsuit against state after being accused of child abuse

Central Texas parents have filed a federal lawsuit after they were accused of abusing their son and the state took their children. They said it was a case of misdiagnosis, and they now want to help others.

"My sons were never abused," JJ’s mother Lorina Bourne said.

Doctors said they were.

"They failed my child and our whole family," Bourne said.

In May 2015, Bourne and Jason Troy took their infant son, JJ, to the hospital when he became sick.

"As a mother, you try your best to take care of your children, and you're taking them to the doctor to try to find answers and the best care for them," Bourne said.

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Bourne said doctors began accusing them of child abuse and said JJ’s brain was swelling as a result of being repeatedly shaken.

"They jumped to the worst conclusions possible," Bourne said. "It's the worst feeling ever because you really want answers as to what's going on. But you're also being interrogated and wrongfully investigated for child abuse."

Jason was charged with two felony counts of child abuse.

"He had a top-secret government and military security clearance, and it really destroyed his career and pretty much our lives because of the wrongful accusations," Bourne said.

JJ and his older brother were removed from their home. Instead of being cared for by family, they were placed into foster care.

"My oldest son lost 20 pounds within only six weeks of being taken," Bourne said.

Bourne said they were determined to get them back and clear their names.

After about five months, a Travis County judge ordered the children to return home.

"I hugged them, and we all cried," Bourne said.


Bourne said they finally received a correct diagnosis for JJ, benign external hydrocephalus, a rare condition believed to arise from a complication of birth.

The parents were eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing.

"Our concern is that many children across our nation could be in foster care when they don't need to be there. And many parents and caregivers could be in prison right now, and they're in fact innocent," Bourne said.

The parents have filed a federal lawsuit against Dell Children’s Medical Center and members of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

"I think that the most important thing Lorina and her family is not just to. Put some closure and to hold these folks accountable for what they did to her and her family. But more importantly, to make sure that other families don't have to go through this," Attorney Stephanie Proffitt said.

Dell Children’s said in a statement, "We have not been served with this complaint, and therefore cannot speak to it. At Dell Children’s Medical Center, our highest priority is the safety and health of children in our community. As a healthcare provider in Texas, our doctors, nurses and care teams who have reasonable cause to believe that a child has been affected by abuse or neglect by any person must immediately report this to the appropriate authorities as required by law. We have a duty to work with authorities during their investigation as they make their decision on what is in the best interest of the child."

As for JJ, Bourne said he’s happy and healthy.