Paul Efaw's defense attorney called the allegations of child abuse and an uncontrollable temper surrounding her client "unsubstantiated poppycock."
Attorney Laura Perkovic said the comments by Willard attorney James Martin in a wrongful death civil lawsuit came from "off-the-cuff remarks" made by Efaw's ex-wife during a "heated custody battle" for the man's biological children.
"Paul ended up with custody of the children. He won the custody battle because the allegations were proven to be false back in the 1980s," Perkovic said.
Martin, in court documents filed Feb. 16, alleged that the Huron County Department of Job & Family Services (HCDJFS) employees knew Efaw had a short temper before he became a foster parent.
Efaw, 60, of Monroeville, is serving a three-year prison term at the Hocking Correctional Facility for one count of voluntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, for the Oct. 18, 2004 stabbing death of his 11-year-old foster daughter, Connre Dixon. The girl was placed in the Efaw home about a year before the confrontation with Efaw in his shed.
Martin named HCDJFS and the county commissioners who were in office in 2004 as defendants.
The attorney, who represents Connre's estate, wrote that the defendants "found that Mr. Efaw had committed physical abuse and emotional maltreatment of his own children. ... In conjunction with the finding of physical abuse, Mr. Efaw was ordered to attend counseling sessions at the Linn Center, a psychological counseling facility, yet (HCDJS social worker Suzie) Sidell did nothing to access those records."
Perkovic was unaware if Efaw ever went to counseling. In general, prisons offer "various programs to inmates," but she said she has never discussed that with her client.
"I have heard... of nothing that leads me to believe Mr. Efaw has a temper," she said.
Martin, in the court documents, accused Efaw of killing two cats and throwing a litter pan at a child in 1988, resulting in the boy reportedly falling against a cement trough and hitting his head during "a messy divorce."
He also accused HCDJFS of failing to investigate "allegations of bizarre conduct by Mr. Efaw, including defecating in his stepdaughter's face."
"The children disagree with those allegations by Mr. Martin," Perkovic said.
Martin filed his wrongful death suit against Efaw and the county agencies in 2004.
Perkovic sees the move as "someone trying to get rich" from Connre's death. "It's sad, really," she said.
"No demands have been made. No offers have been made."
Perkovic noted that getting a financial settlement from Efaw "would be impossible because there's nothing to take."
Visiting Common Pleas Judge Judith Cross is expected to rule after a telephone status hearing Monday if HCDJFS and the commissioners can be sued.
Perkovic is planning for the lawsuit to go to trial March 20.
"We'll hash it out in front of a jury if we have to," she said.