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SEXUAL ABUSE LAWSUITS

SEXUAL ABUSE IN WEST VIRGINIA YOUTH RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT FACILITIES

Fighting for Survivors of WV Youth Treatment Center Sexual Abuse

West Virginia residential treatment facilities for youth, like in other parts of the US, house vulnerable children and adolescents. Nevertheless, there are allegations of widespread sexual abuse in some of these facilities, often going unreported. Consequently, victims are left to endure the lasting burden of these abuses  throughout their lives.

While their marketing and public statements promote a sense of care and respect for the residents they accommodate, some of these facilities have faced lawsuits and investigations alleging extensive sexual abuse.

LK is investigating allegations of sexual abuse within West Virginia youth residential treatment facilities. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual abuse in any of these facilities, the legal team at Levy Konigsberg is available to assist you in seeking justice and compensation.

FREE Consultations for Victims of West Virginia Residential Treatment Facility Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (681) 377-3251 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.

What is a Residential Treatment Facility for Youth?

A youth residential treatment facility offers live-in mental health care for children and teenagers with depression, trauma, anxiety, substance abuse, defiance, eating disorders, and others. These facilities aim to provide a safe and structured environment for intensive therapy. It’s often the next step for youth who haven’t responded to outpatient treatment or need extra support after inpatient care. 

Staffed by mental health professionals, these centers focus on individualized treatment to help adolescents acquire skills and coping strategies for a healthy life. They offer a homelike setting with trained staff including psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, nurses, dietitians, and experiential therapy practitioners.

We specialize in sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, including prisons, clergy, and juvenile detention centers.


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History of Sexual Abuse in WV Youth Residential Treatment Facilities

As investigative reports and legal actions continue to emerge, a growing amount of information is revealing the prevalence of abuse within youth residential treatment facilities in WV. Presented below are some relevant cases.

River Park Hospital

  • In 2014, a family filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against River Park Hospital for staff negligence in the WV treatment center. Their son, a minor, was allegedly sexually assaulted by an older male while residing at Barboursville School, a facility operated by River Park Hospital. This caused the victims serious emotional disturbances. This River Park Hospital sexual abuse lawsuit claims that the defendant failed to protect the boy.

Pressley Ridge

  • In 2017, 26-year-old Ronnie Fazzini, a former Pressley Ridge night watch staff member, was arrested by state police on charges of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl. State police reported that the staff at Pressley Ridge discovered multiple sexually suggestive letters in the girl’s room at the facility, which she claimed came from Fazzini.
  • In 2012, a family filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Pressley Ridge of West Virginia, and Braley & Thompson, Inc., alleging that two older children had sexually molested their 13-year-old son, D.B while at Pressley Ridge’s White Oak facility.  According to the lawsuit, two older and stronger male residents threatened and forced D.B. to leave the premises with them and sexually assaulted him. They managed to leave and enter the facility with D.B. without being noticed by the White Oak staff tasked with overseeing them.  Despite a government investigation finding that D.B.’s sexual assault resulted from inadequate supervision at the WV youth treatment facility,  D.B. was not relocated from White Oak until two months after the incident. According to the lawsuit, the defendants were negligent in taking care of D.B. by placing him in an unsafe facility, did not monitor the facility’s safety well enough, and did not adequately train their staff. 

Potomac Center

  • In 2014,  twenty-four children enrolled in the Potomac Center’s Intensive Training Program were transferred from the Romney facility to alternative sites. This move came as a result of reports of cases of physical and sexual abuse to state officials. Several employees were involved in the Potomac Center abuse allegations, reportedly sharing photos of children in degrading poses through a social media app. 
  • Approximately seven former Potomac Center employees faced misdemeanor charges for failing to report abuse or neglect. 

Board of Child Care 

  • In 2009, the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church’s Board of Child Care, along with one of its workers, was the target of a lawsuit brought by 16-year-old John Doe. In the summer of 2005, while the child was residing at the Board’s youth residential treatment facility in Falling Waters, West Virginia, David Bayles, an employee of the facility, allegedly sexually assaulted him several times. 
  • According to the complaint, the boy disclosed the sexual assault during a psychological evaluation. John Doe allegedly suffered from extreme mental anguish, feelings of insecurity, lack of trust, and inappropriate sexual behavior as a result of Bayles’s sexual abuse. 
  • The Board of Child Care sexual abuse case claimed that by betraying the boy’s trust and best interests and by manipulating and taking advantage of his vulnerable situation, Bayles and the Board of Child Care both violated their obligations of good faith and due care.

Academy Programs

  • In 2016, Cassandra Noss, a 25-year-old employee of Academy Programs, was charged with sexual abuse after allegedly having multiple sexual encounters with a teenage resident of the facility. Academy Programs is an institution that helps at-risk youth by offering residential and in-home treatment for kids who struggle with drug addiction and behavioral disorders. 
  • The Academy Programs sexual abuse related Investigations were initiated after pictures of Noss and the 17-year-old boy together were discovered. Police found additional evidence, including text messages. Noss was the boy’s therapist at the Academy Programs. She faced four charges of sexual abuse of a minor by an individual in a position of trust.

West Virginia Statute of Limitations

Sexual abuse lawsuits, like other claims brought by plaintiffs who seek damages for injuries, are subject to a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations expires, victims will not be able to file a claim or recover compensation.

Determining the statute of limitations in your claim can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider. In West Virginia, claims brought by survivors of childhood sexual abuse (abuse that occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age) generally must be commenced before the survivor reaches age 36.

If you were sexually abused while housed at a West Virginia residential treatment facility, the best way to evaluate the statute of limitations in your case is to have it personally reviewed by a lawyer. At Levy Konigsberg, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating sexual abuse cases on behalf of youth and adult inmates and can help you take the next step toward justice.

Trust Levy Konigsberg's Legal Team for Proven Results in Sexual Abuse and Negligence Cases

Levy Konigsberg LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has built a legacy over three decades, recovering over $3 billion in sexual abuse compensation for clients. Led by award-winning sexual abuse lawyers, we specialize in representing survivors in sexual abuse across the country, taking on powerful institutions. Our top-rated trial practice handles all types of sexual abuse or negligence cases, showcasing numerous testimonials and successful case results. You can learn more about our latest sexual abuse work on our blog.

FREE Consultations for Victims of West Virginia Residential Treatment Facility Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (681) 377-3251 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.

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