Lawsuit: Developmentally disabled boy subjected to repeated sexual assault in residential care facility

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jan 18, 2019

PITTSBURGH – A young man with developmental disabilities whose parents say he was molested at a residential treatment facility for children is suing the institution.

John Doe Z.C., by and through his parents and/or guardians, filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 10 versus Glade Run Lutheran Services, Glade Run Lutheran Services Corporation, and Glade Foundation and its President/CEO Charles T. Lockwood, all of Zelienople.

According to the lawsuit, Doe was placed in the Glade Run Corporation facility in November 2013, when he was 9 years old. The facility specializes in mentoring young children with developmental disabilities, such as Doe – who the suit says suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome/autism and others.

After staying there nearly six months, Doe’s parents observed he made little progress and had concerns about his care at the facility, when they heard Doe using harsh language he heard from staff and other children at Glade, saw children running around unsupervised and took note of persistent staff turnover, the suit says.

“On May 19, 2014, John Doe was taken to the emergency room at a nearby hospital with signs of sexual assault. There was evidence from Glade Run staff corroborated by hospital staff that an object, a plastic sword, had been used to damage his anus/rectum. At the emergency room, it was discovered that John Doe’s anus/rectum showed signs of being penetrated over a course of time,” the suit says.

“It is believed and averred that John Doe was subject to repeated sexual assaults from multiple residents at Glade Run during his time there, while unsupervised by staff, where he would be coerced or forced into gang-sex acts in the laundry room and other places at Glade Run. Additionally, John Doe was subjected to other instances of sexual assault including, but not limited to: Attempted rape, oral sex, unwanted touching, unwanted exposure and anal rape. These excruciating acts occurred during the period of November 2013 through May 2015 while John Doe was in the ‘care’ of defendant Glade Run Corporation and on its property.”

The lawsuit accuses facility staff of sleeping or watching television late at night during their shifts, leaving children unsupervised and allowing for the aforementioned acts to take place, and for responding to Doe’s pleas for help with “anger, hostility, violence and public embarrassment.”

Additionally, it says the facility did not report the abuse to the authorities until August 2015. Subsequently, the facility and its employees were cited for violation of various rules and regulations by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and its operating license was revoked.

“The defendants violated all laws applicable to caring for children specific to John Doe. Glade Run Corporation fired low-level employees, but no one in an executive and/or supervisor capacity was even reprimanded in any way, shape, form and/or manner. As a result of Glade Run Corporation’s failures, John Doe suffered serious physical and psychological abuse over an extended period of time that continues to ail him to this day,” the lawsuit reads.

For negligence against all defendants, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory, consequential and general damages in excess of the jurisdictional/arbitration minimum of the court, reasonable medical, psychological and related expenses, punitive damages and pre-judgment interest as allowed by law.

The plaintiff is represented by Nicholas J. Indovina of Pisanchyn Law Firm, in Pittsburgh.

The defendants have not yet secured legal counsel, according to court records.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-19-000425

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

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