Teen says he was sexually abused at church treatment facility

MARTINSBURG -– A 16-year-old boy who alleges he was sexually abused while a resident in a juvenile treatment facility has filed suit against the Board of Child Care of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and one of its employees.

The teenager, who is only mentioned as John Doe throughout the suit, claims he was repeatedly sexually abused by David Bayles, an employee of the facility, during the summer of 2005, according to a complaint Mary Ritter filed on his behalf in Berkeley Circuit Court on Dec. 2.

"The sexual abuse included repeated acts of touching and rubbing of the plaintiff's penis and buttocks and the performance of oral sex on the plaintiff by David Bayles," the suit states.

The abuse happened in the boy's bedroom and in the pool area of the Board of Child Care residential treatment facility located in Falling Waters, W.Va., he claims.

Only during a psychological evaluation Feb. 8 did the boy reveal the sexual abuse that happened while he was in the custody of the Board of Child Care, according to the complaint.

John Doe was admitted to the Board of Child Care residential treatment facility on June 27, 2005, after he was adjudicated as a delinquent and pleaded to the charge of petit larceny in January 2005, the suit states.

He was then placed on a nine-month supervised probation that was revoked in May 2005 for his alleged violation of probation terms, causing his placement in the facility, he claims.

Because of Bayles's sexual abuse of the boy, John Doe has experienced severe emotional distress, marked feelings of insecurity, lack of trust and sexually maladaptive behaviors, according to the complaint.

He will require treatment to address his sexually maladaptive behaviors, to process his sexual trauma and to address disruptive and aggressive behaviors, the suit states.

He has also experienced a lack of trust in caretakers and caregivers "resulting in his behavior being interpreted by others as oppositional and/or aggressive in nature," the suit states.

Both Bayles and the Board of Child Care breached their duties of good faith and due care by violating the boy's trust and best interests and by manipulating and exploiting his vulnerable position, he claims.

The Board of Child Care breached its duty of protection against injury and a duty to use reasonable care to ensure the safety, care, well-being and health of the boy while under its care, according to the complaint.

"Defendant knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that David Bayles was unfit, dangerous, and a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the minors entrusted to his counsel, care and protection," the suit states.

The Board of Child Care had a duty to warn the boy's guardian or to protect him against the risk of David Bayles, but breached that duty, John Doe claims.

It also breached its duty to have appropriate policies in place to ensure the safety and well-being of juveniles admitted to its facility, according to the complaint.

In the 11-count suit, the boy is seeking a judgment for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court determines appropriate.

Harry P. Waddell of Martinsburg will be representing him.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 08-C-1382

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