WHEELING - A minor blames a children's home where he staying after he claims he was the victim as sexual assault.
John Doe, and a parent, Jane Doe, filed a suit Feb. 15 in Ohio Circuit Court against The Children's Home of Wheeling Inc., which provided temporary programs for young boys, including therapy, clinical evaluation, living skills and other services.
The boy entered the home in September 2004, then 8 years old, and was there until June 2005. He was diagnosed with "mood disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and parent-child relational problems," the suit says.
On March 15, 2005, the home was hosting a birthday party for the boy, with all age groups sharing the party. The suit says the boy and a 13-year-old resident ended up in a restroom together. The 13-year-old did not have permission, the suit claims.
A third youth, who also had permission, entered the restroom a few minutes later and "became aware Doe and (unknown subject) were in a stall together and were doing something inappropriate," the suit says.
The boy immediately told someone, and employee Bill Sligar entered the restroom, and noticed one set of feet in stall No. 3.
"He waited and listened to see if he heard anything," the suit says.
Another resident entered the restroom and asked Sligar if the plaintiff was in there, at which time the 13-year-old exited the stall and said Doe was not there. The 13-year-old then went back to his cottage.
The suit says Sligar then saw Doe's feet appear in stall No. 3, and the boy said the 13-year-old was talking to him and told him to stay in the stall.
The Department of Health and Human Services investigated and concluded "it is likely the boys were engages in inappropriate activity," the suit says.
The home determined it was culpable for failing to maintain its own policies. A hearing was conducted, and it was decided Doe would stay at the school as it would be in his best interest, the suit says.
On June 19, 2005, Doe and other home residents were playing outside when staff allowed the 13-year-old to play also.
"At that time, staff allowed the plaintiff and the 13-year-old to go into the nearby bushes, where they were out of the line of sight of all CHOW staff on duty," the suit says.
The next day, a staff member overheard one resident tell another that he has observed the plaintiff put his hands into the 13-year-old's pants after he had threatened to harm boy, and this occurred while they were in the bushes, the complaint states.
The incident was investigated and determined to be credible. The plaintiff was taken out of the home and has resided with his parents since then.
The suit claims the home was negligent, and the plaintiffs seek punitive damages in an amount that will fairly punish the home.
James M. Barber and Lonnie C. Simmons are representing the plaintiffs, and the case has been assigned to Judge Martin Gaughan.
Ohio Circuit Court case number 07-C-64