Click here to watch this story (Windows Media)
There may finally be some closure for the family of Gina Score. It's been a year and half since the 14-year-old was forced to take a run at a girls boot camp that would end her life.
The day Score died is the day the problems at the State Training School in Plankinton started coming to light. Now, after months of hearings and accusations, the Civil suit is settled.
Gina Score died on July 21, 1999. On a 2 and a half mile run, Score suffered from heat stroke. She fell to the ground, but workers at the school and a Sioux Valley Hospital Nurse thought Score was faking her injuries. Since then, other girls have come forward, telling stories of abuse at the state training school.
Two guards, Raylene Layne & Tamara Wagaman, were blamed for Score's death, but they were found not guilty of child abuse in a criminal trial.
Score's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of South Dakota and Sioux Valley Hospital, seeking monetary damages.
We don't know how much Sioux Valley Hospital and the State of South Dakota will pay Gina Score's family. Governor Bill Janklow says you can't put a price on her life.
Gov. Janklow, "We get hung up sometimes on the money. When it's all said and done it doesn't bring anybody back."
The final settlement hasn't been worked out, but Janklow says the family needs closure.
"I've always felt there was liability in the death of Gina Score. Putting it another way...but for the actions of others she wouldn't have died."
Janklow says Score wasn't a victim of the system--she was a victim of people breaking the rules.
"I think there's a place for discipline. There's a place for rigor, but there's no place for abuse."
If no one challenges the settlement, it will become official on March fifth. Janklow says it's a done deal. Could a situation like Gina Score's happen again? Janklow says yes, but the state has taken measures to make sure it won't.
"She doesn't get to come back. She doesn't get to tell her story. She doesn't get to grow up. She doesn't get to be a mother or have children. she doesn't get to know joy and sorrows of living a life I've got to live. I think that's terribly tragic."
Since Gina Score's death, South Dakota has created a reform school monitor to watch over things. Some have pushed for an outside ombudsman under the Legislature's direction, instead of the governor's. Legislators killed a bill today, that would have created that position.Click Here To Voice Your Opinion
© KELO-TV. All Rights Reserved.