Parent sues West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services over daughter's alleged rape

By Kyla Asbury | Nov 13, 2012

CHARLESTON -- The parent of a young girl who was allegedly raped during her incarceration in James H. "Tiger" Morton Juvenile Center is suing the state division of juvenile services for the child's injuries.

Two correctional officers, James Dunlap and Dom Avena; Facility Director Marshall Berger; and John Doe, unknown person or persons, were also named as defendants in the suit.

According to a complaint filed Oct. 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court, B.S.H. was a juvenile offender incarcerated in Tiger Morton and during her incarceration, she was sexually assaulted, sexually harassed and sexually abused.

The plaintiff, identified as C.A.H., claims Berger, Doe and the WVDJS negligently allowed the conduct to occur.

The alleged perpetrators Dunlap and Avena visited extreme cruel and unusual punishment upon B.S.H., according to the suit, and as a result of the staff’s failure to see to her safety, she was not sufficiently protected from harm by Dunlap, Avena and Doe.

C.A.H. claims the defendants’ actions caused B.S.H. to suffer severe emotional distress, unwelcome sexual harassment and abuse and an invasion of privacy.

The defendants engaged in a course of conduct that has been willful, conspiratory and intended to deny B.S.H. of certain rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, according to the suit.

C.A.H. claims the defendants negligently failed to properly investigate incidents of sexual misconduct at the hands of Dunlap and Avena.

The defendants were negligent in failing to supervise Dunlap, Avena and Doe; in failing to properly train Dunlap, Avena and Doe; in retaining employment of Dunlap, Avena and Doe; in hiring Dunlap, Avena and Doe; in staffing Tiger Morton; and failing to intervene on B.S.H.’s behalf, according to the suit.

C.A.H. is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. C.A.H. is being represented by Kerry A. Nessel.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2109

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