DENVER (AP) — A federal appeals court has found that a Denver city social worker can be sued for violating the constitutional rights of a boy after she recommended that he be placed in his father’s custody despite knowing that the father was a convicted sex offender.

The boy was physically and sexually abused by his father.

Monday’s decision by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected case worker Kelcey Patton’s claim that, as a city employee, she is protected by governmental immunity.

An attorney for the boy, who is now an adult, says the decision allows him to seek damages in a lower court from both the worker and the city.

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