CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) —  In January, 8 On Your Side was first to tell you about a Clearwater foster home where nine foster children were removed by state workers due to concerns about their safety and well-being. We have new information about the allegations made regarding the foster home and the couple who operated it, and for the first time, we hear from the couple’s attorney as he defends his clients. 

Florida’s Department of Children and Families, the state’s child protective agency, is supposed to take children in danger and move them to a safe place, but a newly filed civil lawsuit claims that might not be the case.

Jacklyn and Jerold Logemann’s large home sits on a quiet road in Clearwater. For decades, state workers have placed young boys there to live with the Logemann’s, boys without anyplace else to go. While some might praise the Logemann’s for the children they have taken into their care, there have been allegations that anyplace might have been better.

On January 6 2023, Clearwater Police said they launched a child neglect investigation at the Logemann home. The investigating officer writes that a child protective investigator, or CPI, from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was already at the scene when he arrived. The Clearwater officer took statements, but no one was arrested, and no children were removed from the home. 

Then three days later on Jan. 9, the report states that the CPI asked Clearwater police to return to the Logemann home. This time, the investigator asked Clearwater officers to assist in the removal of all nine foster kids because of allegations of sexual battery, but the investigation soon met a dead end. 

Clearwater’s Chief of Police Dan Slaughter shared this statement: “At the time, detectives have conducted multiple interviews and cannot corroborate claims of criminal conduct. The case has been inactivated. if additional information or evidence is developed, the case will be reopened.”

Attorney Rick Escobar represents the Logemanns. 

“Now you got Rick Escobar, you got the Department of Children and Family services and you got the Clearwater Police Department,” said Escobar. “You got three of us saying there are no legs to this investigation.”

Allegations in the Clearwater police report mirror allegations in the newly filed civil lawsuit.

I wouldn’t want any other kids to have to ever deal with what I had to go through,” said Chevonte Thomas, plaintiff.

This is the first time Thomas is telling his story. Thomas said he lived with the Logemanns for two years, starting in 2009.

I’ve never been asked, ‘Dd you feel safe?’” said Thomas. “I’ve never been asked, ‘Are they feeding you well?’ I’ve never been asked, ‘Do you need anything?’”

Thomas is one of the 20 former foster boys who are suing the Logemanns, the Department of Children and Families, the Guardian Ad Litem program, as well as other private case management companies and child welfare programs.

“It could’ve been stopped when I complained nobody did anything about it,” said Jonathan Feyes, plaintiff. “I’m 37 and I still get nightmares.”

Feyes is also speaking out for the first time. Feyes said he spent four years living with the Logemanns, starting at age 9.   

In the Clearwater police report, when investigators spoke with Jacklyn Logemann on Jan. 6 2023 concerning allegations of abuse, it states: “Contact was then made with Jacklyn Logemann who was able to provide a statement. Jacklyn Logemann stated that she does not abuse or neglect the kids in anyway. Jacklyn Logemann also advised that her foster kids like it there so much that she has multiple foster kids who have grown up who still live in her house.”

Attorney Adam Hecht represents Thomas and Feyes.

“I have kept hearing from all the individuals is that in the 90s, the 2000s, in the mid-2000s, up until the present,” Hect said. “The stories, while not identical, were very similar and there was a pattern I was starting to see, and these boys have no reason, these boys and men have no reason to know each other. Many of them have never lived with each other.”

Hecht said his lawsuit is a fight for justice.

The January incident was immediately recognized by DCF that something was wrong. The agency told us: “The Department is launching a review of the licensing process and related concerns of this home with our contracted providers, as well as our own internal processes.”

Since then, the state agency has remained silent, despite our nearly two dozen public records requests since January for information regarding the status of this investigation or the Logemann’s license. A representative would only tell us, “We will have an update over to you soon.” We are still waiting.

Escobar said this case is hurting not only his clients, but the system.

When asked if his clients gave up their license or if they got it revoked, Escobar said, “They’ve given up their license. They want no part of being foster parents any longer.”

Escobar said the foster parents are now hiring a different law firm to help defend them against the civil lawsuit.

I’m sure the civil lawyers will have the opportunity to actually depose them under oath.”

Clearwater police said the case is inactive, but not closed pending additional evidence or a statement by the Logemanns.

There are no criminal charges against the Logemanns or anybody else associated with this case as of now. There is only a civil lawsuit.