The Albany woman charged with giving her baby methadone is in line to receive a share of a $1.25 million state settlement for the earlier death of her teenage daughter.
Magan Michelle McDermott, 34, was arrested Nov. 24 after police say she gave the powerful narcotic to her 3-month-old son during a visit with the boy’s father, who had custody of the child. McDermott has pleaded not guilty to four felony charges in the case, which is pending in Benton County Circuit Court.
The baby is now in foster care.
McDermott is also the mother of Gloria Joya, who died in April 2016 of an untreated medical condition while she was in foster care. She was 15 years old.
Last month the state settled a lawsuit filed by the girl’s estate against the Oregon Department of Human Services, claiming the agency had failed to properly look after the child.
According to documents filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, McDermott and the teen’s father, Jerry Rivera Joya, are each slated to receive $130,000 in damages from the settlement. Gloria Joya’s four surviving siblings, all in foster care, are also in line to receive similar cash payments in the settlement.
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But not everyone believes McDermott ought to have a share of that money.
Erin Olson, an attorney representing Gloria Joya’s younger sister, petitioned the court to forfeit the parents’ cash awards or put the money in trust “to avoid their unjust enrichment.” (Olson is also representing McDermott’s youngest child, the victim in the methadone case. The baby is not entitled to any of the money from the settlement because he was not born at the time of Gloria Joya’s death.)
Now state Sen. Sara Gelser says she’s planning to introduce legislation that would prevent parents from collecting in cases like Gloria Joya’s.
Gelser, who represents the Corvallis-Albany area in the Legislature, also wants the Department of Human Services to convene a critical incident response team — also known as a CIRT — to look into the alleged methadone incident.
“I hope DHS calls a discretionary CIRT in this case to try to unravel how this could possibly happen in the same DHS district office, with the same mom, especially after a fatality, a very significant CIRT (investigation) and a large tort settlement,” she told the newspaper on Wednesday.