Couple sues DCF, Waltham officials for removing kids from home without warrant

WALTHAM, Mass. — A couple is suing the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and Waltham police and city officials alleging civil rights violations after their children were removed from their Waltham home last year without a warrant amid suspicion of child abuse.

“Absolutely the worst moment of our lives,” said Sarah Perkins about the night her children were taken away from her.

Sarah Perkins and Joshua Sabey, who now live in Idaho, claim that on July 16, 2022, Waltham police went to their home in Waltham “and demanded they surrender their children to the government,” according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

According to the lawsuit, their children were taken into state custody after Perkins had taken one of her children, a 3-month-old infant, who had a fever, to a local emergency room.

“Ultimately we were told that they would break down our door if we didn’t give them the kids,” said Josh Sabey, the father.

There, an x-ray of the infant revealed a healing rib fracture, which hospital staff later reported to the state Department of Children and Families, alleging physical abuse of the infant by his parents, the lawsuit states.

“His grandmother was watching him and she went to get the baby out of the car seat with one hand and as she was picking him up, he threw his head back and she thought she was going to drop him, so she gripped pretty tight,” said Perkins.

The couple was later cleared of any wrongdoing, the lawsuit states.

“This lawsuit’s important to hold DCF and police officials accountable for what they know was unconstitutional,” said Joshua Thompson, senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, representing the family.

Their two young boys were in foster care for four months, after which they were returned to the couple.

The couple is suing four Waltham police officers, four employees of the state Department of Children and Families, and the city of Waltham, the lawsuit states.

The Waltham Police Department issued the following statement on Tuesday: “The Waltham Police Department does not comment on ongoing litigation and will be referring all media inquiries to the city of Waltham Law Department.”

The lawsuit claims the couple endured an “emotional and physical toll” after their children were taken into state.

“While the Sabeys were ultimately—and obviously—cleared of any wrongdoing, and the children were eventually reunited with their parents, nothing can undo the trauma of that early July morning and the prolonged abrogation of the Sabeys’ parental rights,” the lawsuit states. “For parents, the emotional and physical toll of having your crying children torn from your arms never goes away.”

“What we really hope is we will make a change for other families,” said Sabey.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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