Parent says son abused by Potomac Center caretakers

By Whitney Brakken | Apr 22, 2014

ROMNEY -- A residential assistance center for the developmentally disabled is sued after employees allegedly abused residents.

R.M., a minor by his parent, guardian and next friend, T.D., individually and on behalf of those similarly situated filed a lawsuit April 7 in Hampshire Circuit Court against Potomac Comprehensive Diagnostic & Guidance Center Inc., also known as Potomac Center Inc., and John or Jane Does 1-12, citing violation of West Virginia code, negligent failure to hire, train and supervise, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery.

According to the complaint, R.M. was 17 and a resident at the Potomac Center and suffered abuse from Potomac Center's employees between Nov. 15 and Jan. 17. The complaint alleges other residents of the Potomac Center were also abused.

The complaint says the center's mission is to provide residential assistance and support to children and adults with developmental disabilities and that a criminal investigation revealed that certain agents and employees of the center were abusing the residents.

Allegations include an incident in which R.M. got soap in the eyes while bathing. An employee reportedly put his or her foot on R.M’s chest and sprayed water in R.M.’s eyes, the complaint alleges.

The complaint notes that R.M. uses a gait belt to keep him from falling when suffering a seizure.

“He was taking a shower and certain John or Jane Does employed by the defendant put a sheet through the belt, wrapped the sheet around the shower head, hoisted him off the floor, spun him around and threatened to hit him,” the complaint alleges.

A soft helmet that R.M. wore to protect a head injury allegedly was nailed to the wall by employees while he was wearing it.

The parents were informed on Jan. 17 that the Potomac Center was being closed and instructed to pick up their son. Twenty-four children were taken from the Potomac Center campus Jan. 16-17, and State Police have said as many as 12 residents -- ages 7 to 17 -- out of the 24 removed from the center were victims of abuse and potentially 10 suspects were identified.

The plaintiff is seeking actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, exemplary damages, damages for emotional distress, costs and fees.

The plaintiff is being represented in the case by Jonathan R. Marshall, Robert P. Lorea and Isaac R. Forman of Bailey & Glasser LLP and Roger D. Forman of The Law Office of Roger D. Forman.

Hampshire Circuit Court Case No. 14-C-47

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