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Susan Powell’s Father-in-Law Faces Lawsuit

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credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

SEATTLE (AP) — The father-in-law of a missing Utah woman faces a lawsuit over recorded images of two neighbor girls in their bathroom in Puyallup, WA.

The girls’ mother sued Steven Powell last week in Pierce County Superior Court for undisclosed damages. The lawsuit alleges the young girls suffered severe emotional distress as a result of Powell’s watching, filming and keeping video and images of them without their consent.

The girls were about 8 and 10 when the images were recorded. They testified in May they had no idea someone might film them as they washed, got dressed or used the toilet in their second-floor bathroom.

Powell was convicted in May of 14 voyeurism counts and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who is representing the mother, said they want to get records pertaining to the investigation, cover the girls’ counseling costs, make sure Steven Powell doesn’t have future contact with the girls, and block the release of voyeuristic images of the girls.

“We have pretty discrete and modest goals, but we were just seeking future justice for this family,” Bremner said Tuesday.

It was unclear whether Steven Powell had an attorney in the civil case. Calls to his attorneys in the voyeurism case were not immediately returned.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Seattle attorneys filed a $20 million claim against Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services over negligence in the death of Josh Powell’s sons. Josh Powell violently killed his kids during a supervised visit earlier this year.

Bremner and attorney James S. Rogers filed the claim behalf of Susan Powell, who went missing in 2009. A guardian ad litem has been appointed to present her.

“We will be conducting extensive discovery to follow up on the facts we’ve learned about the actions of DSHS,” Rogers said in a statement. “It is clear that DSHS knew or should have known about the danger Josh Powell presented to the safety of his children and failed to take actions that could have prevented this tragedy.”

DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley declined to comment on the claim.

Susan Powell disappeared from her Utah home in 2009. Her husband, Josh, was a focus of the investigation until he killed himself and the couple’s two children in a February fire.

Steven Powell was arrested last year after authorities investigating Susan Powell’s disappearance searched his home in Washington state. Investigators discovered computer disks with what they described as thousands of images of women and girls who seemed unaware they were being photographed, including the neighbor girls.

– Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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