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Lawsuit Claims Child Taken From Home Without Just Cause

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (AP) - A lawsuit claims a police officer and a social worker in southeastern Kentucky worked together to remove a child from his home without just cause.

The lawsuit filed by the boy's parents says the 2-year-old was taken after his mother, Felicia Morgan of Williamsburg, "had words" on April 9 with the officer's mother, Gladys Bird, who was a neighbor.

Gladys Bird called her son, Williamsburg Police Officer Wayne Bird, who arrived at Morgan's home minutes later in uniform with state social worker Stephanie Bryant, according to the court document. They told Morgan they were investigating a complaint that she and her husband were allowing the boy to drink beer, the suit says.

"It was obvious to Stephanie Bryant that the child was not intoxicated, was drinking root beer and was well-cared for," said the lawsuit, filed last week in Whitley Circuit Court.

Bryant placed the child in the temporary custody of Felicia Morgan's mother. He was returned to his parents the next day.

The Morgans are suing Wayne Bird, his mother, and Bryant, alleging that the three "clearly falsified untrue allegations." The lawsuit also names the city of Williamsburg and Bryant's employer, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as defendants. The couple asks for $8,000 in damages.

Wayne and Gladys Bird and Bryant could not be reached for comment.

Cabinet spokeswoman Vikki Franklin said state officials could not comment because they had not received the lawsuit.

Williamsburg City Police Chief Denny Shelley said he was not aware of the lawsuit or the incident.

"No formal complaint has been filed with the city," Shelley said.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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