By Caitlin O'toole
Updated May 08, 1998 12:00 AM
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A Rhode Island federal judge on Thursday dismissed the lawsuit “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch filed against state child welfare authorities over a charge, later dropped, that he abused his son, reports the Associated Press. Judge Ernest Torres said investigators from the Department of Children, Youth and Families had the right to temporarily remove Hatch’s 10-year-old son from his custody based on evidence of abuse that included bruising and scratches. The judge said that Hatch did not provide enough evidence to support his claim that the agency violated his rights and damaged his relationship with the boy. Hatch, a corporate trainer in Middletown, had just returned from filming the CBS reality show last April when his son claimed his father grabbed him by the neck while the two were running. Middletown police had charged Hatch with second-degree child abuse and the state took custody of the boy for about a month. Hatch denied any abuse, and the attorney general’s office last July announced it would not prosecute. “What this means is that it’s legal in Rhode Island for the Department of Children, Youth and Families to abuse children,” Hatch said in a telephone interview with the AP after the ruling. A state prosecutor defending the agency in the lawsuit said child welfare workers acted properly.

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