5-Year-Old Boy Breaks Sculpture in Kansas Museum, City Wants $132K for Damages

June 19, 2018 Last Updated: June 19, 2018

An insurance company wants a Kansas mother to pay $132,000 after her 5-year-old son damaged a sculpture at a community center.

Surveillance footage shows two children playing in a room full of art on May 19. They run around the room, filled with many sculptures and paintings, while the three adults are seated, possibly reading magazines and chatting. The 5-year-old stops to climb one of the sculptures and ends up pulling down its top half.

“It’s clear accidents happen and this was an accident,” said Sarah Goodman, mother of the 5-year-old, via The Kansas City Star. “I don’t want to diminish the value of their art. But I can’t pay for that.”

Goodman was with her husband and four children at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, to celebrate a wedding. She said she didn’t see the statue come down as she was saying her goodbyes and preparing to leave, according to the Star.

Goodman said she saw the sculpture on the ground and didn’t think it was badly damaged. She also said the sculpture was not properly secured in a place which families and children frequent, according to the Star.

“He probably hugged it,” Goodman said, via the Star. “Maybe my son hugged a torso because he’s a loving, sweet nice boy who just graduated from preschool.”

Afterward, she received a letter from the insurance company asking for the $132,000. She said that nobody asked her if the boy was injured after the incident, according to the Star.

“This loss occurred when your son was in a closed area of the property and toppled a glass sculpture. Under common law in Kansas, you are responsible for the supervision of a minor child and your failure to monitor them during this loss could be considered negligent,” read the letter, as obtained by the Star.

The artist, Bill Lyons, valued the art at $132,000, according to the Star. Hence the reason why the insurance company asked for that amount from Goodman.

“I want to be reimbursed for the amount of time that I spent on it and for what I think it is worth,” said Lyons, via the Star.

The art was on loan to the city at the time it sustained the damage.

“The city has a responsibility to file a claim with our insurance company, and we do that any time city property is damaged,” said Overland Park city spokesman Sean Reilly, via the Star. “It will be up to the insurance companies to get this worked out.”