State pays $10 million to settle case connected to Perry teen’s starvation death

DES MOINES — A state panel has approved a legal settlement that will pay millions to two adopted siblings of an Iowa teenager who was abused and starved to death by a couple from Perry.

Sabrina Ray was 16 years old when her body was found in a home in Perry six years ago. She weighed just 56 pounds. Her adoptive mother was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. A judge sentenced her adoptive father to 80 years in prison.

The Iowa Appeals Board has approved a $5 million payment to each of two children who were also adopted by Misty and Marc Ray. Three years ago, a state ombudsman’s report found the abuse Sabrina and other children suffered could have been prevented if state social workers had not dismissed 11 separate allegations against the Rays. The settlement calls for creation of a state task force to address deficiencies outlined in the report from the state ombudsman.

An attorney for the two adopted sisters of Sabrina Ray who are receiving payments from the state issued a written statement.  Scott Wadding said his clients suffered “unspeakable abuse and torture” and the hope is that this settlement “marks the beginning of a new era in Iowa’s foster care system.” Misty and Marc Ray, who ran a child care center, also took in 23 foster care chidren over a 10 year period and adopted four children, including the teenager who starved to death.