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Summons against Steven Powell filed as lawsuits, appeals surround Powell cases

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 2:59 p.m. MDT

TACOMA, Wash — Pierce County Superior Court has been busy lately with court filings regarding multiple legal actions surrounding the cases of Steven Powell, Josh Powell, Susan Powell and the Powell children.

Steven Powell was convicted of spying on and taking unwanted pictures of two young neighbor girls while they were in their bathroom. The girls and their mother on Friday filed a summons, giving Powell 20 days to respond to the civil lawsuit filed against him in June.

Steven Powell, 62, was convicted May 16 on 14 counts of voyeurism. He was sentenced on 12 of those counts to 30 months in prison.

Since then, both sides of have filed appeals: Powell is appealing his convictions arguing that the search of his home that led to his arrest was unconstitutional; and prosecutors are appealing the dismissal of a possession of child pornography charge that had originally been filed against him.

Also, the two former neighbor girls whose photos were unknowingly taken while they showered and used the bathroom, filed a civil lawsuit against Powell in June. In the suit, the girls' attorney, Anne Bremner, wrote that Powell's actions were "outrageous," "heinous," "disgusting" and "egregious."

Because of Powell's actions, Bremner said her clients suffer "severe emotional distress and will continue to suffer severe emotional distress indefinitely." She called the girls' emotional scars "permanent and irreparable."

A jury trial for the civil suit isn't scheduled to be held until 2014. Powell is scheduled to be released from jail next May.

Powell is the father of Josh Powell, who murdered his two sons and killed himself in an inferno set to his rented Graham, Wash., home earlier this year. He is suspected of being responsible for the disappearance of his wife Susan, who went missing from her West Valley home more than 2 ½ years ago.

Last week, Bremner announced her intention to appeal West Valley City's decision not to release their police records regarding the investigation into Susan Powell's disappearance.

Also last week, an order was issued in Pierce County Superior Court appointing attorney William Dussault as the litigation guardian ad litem for Susan Powell in legal actions filed on her behalf against the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

The suit, filed at the end of July, alleges negligence on the part of DSHS in the deaths of her sons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5. A trial is scheduled for next June.

On Thursday, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services' Child Fatality Review Team released a 12-page report regarding the deaths of the Powell children. The report noted that DSHS needed to do a better job of convincing police to share information in cases where a protected child's parent is part of a criminal investigation, and more training on domestic violence was suggested.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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