Ex-resident Sues SC Boys' Home Over Alleged Abuse - WSPA.com

Ex-resident Sues SC Boys' Home Over Alleged Abuse

Posted: Updated:
ABBEVILLE COUNTY, S.C. -

Chronic mismanagement by South Carolina's foster care agency led to an 11-year-old boys' home resident being sexually assaulted by an older child, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed in April in Abbeville County. It says officials at the Boys Home of the South, a 52-bed nonprofit in Belton that relies on government referrals and private donations to care for boys in the foster system, turned a blind eye to problems they should have known would ultimately end up with children being harmed.

It also accuses the state Department of Social Services of gross negligence and violating the victim's rights to adequate care and a safe placement. A spokeswoman said DSS would fight the allegations in court. The CEO of Boys Home of the South issued a statement saying the institution's highest priority is its residents' care.

The plaintiff, who is not named in the suit, says he was placed in the foster care system in May 2010 and ended up at a cottage at the Boys Home after social services officials failed to place him with a foster family. It was in that cottage the night of March 28, 2011, that an older boy - who, according to the lawsuit, had been sexually inappropriate with other boys in the past - assaulted the plaintiff in the back of the building.

An adult was also in the cottage but was asleep at the time, according to the lawsuit, something allowed under the home's policies.

The younger boy was ultimately moved to another cottage and left the Boys Home altogether a few months later. Officials did two internal investigations, according to the lawsuit, initially finding no staffers at fault but later determining that the cottage supervisor hadn't adequately monitored the children.

After the alleged abuse, the boy got inadequate counseling and slit his wrists with a razor blade, requiring hospitalization, according to the lawsuit.

However, the suit says the problems predate the alleged 2011 abuse. Two years earlier, the lawsuit says, DSS officials were aware that they didn't have enough foster families in which to place children, thereby putting them instead in institution-style settings, such as the Boys Home, which were subsequently mismanaged and inadequately supervised.

In a 2010 annual progress report, the lawsuit noted, DSS "stated that the agency was not adequately monitoring the medical needs of children in its custody and that, as a result, children did not receive appropriate follow-up treatment."

"It is unconscionable that this young boy landed in such a facility in the first place," said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children's Rights, an advocacy group that is part of the boy's legal team. "Foster care is supposed to improve children's lives, not destroy them."

In a statement to The Associated Press, Boys Home of the South CEO Al Squire said his organization has cared for more than 10,000 boys since it opened in 1958, complies with all regulations and has residents' care as its highest concern.

"If over the years inappropriate conduct were to occur, we would, and will, respond with proper protocols," Squire said. "We will continue to work with DSS in matters of care for boys."

DSS spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus said the lawsuit left out important elements of the case.

"The attorneys for the plaintiffs have issued a press release that presents only one side of the story," she said in a statement to AP. "DSS will respond through its attorneys during the court proceedings rather than trying to litigate in the media."

No hearings have been scheduled yet.

 

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • State Agencies Probe Greenville Crematorium After 7OYS Investigation

    State Agencies Probe Greenville Crematorium After 7OYS Investigation

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-07-25 02:59:15 GMT
    After 7 On Your Side asked questions about a business seeking non-profit donations, state agents began their own probe.After 7 On Your Side asked questions about a business seeking non-profit donations, state agents began their own probe.
    A 7 On Your Side Investigation into an Upstate Crematorium launched a state probe into the business.  Cremation Society of South Carolina sought donations for a non-profit.  7 On Your Side discovered the business was a for profit corporation.
    A 7 On Your Side Investigation into an Upstate Crematorium launched a state probe into the business.  Cremation Society of South Carolina sought donations for a non-profit.  7 On Your Side discovered the business was a for profit corporation.
  • New Lifesaving Tool Now in AnMed Health Helicopter

    New Lifesaving Tool Now in AnMed Health Helicopter

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-07-25 02:45:35 GMT
    AnMed Health's LifeFlight now carries a new cooler with lifesaving blood and plasma on every call.AnMed Health's LifeFlight now carries a new cooler with lifesaving blood and plasma on every call.
    From the battlefield to the Upstate, new lifesaving technology is going airborne. AnMed Health’s LifeFlight is changing the game by bringing a new cooler with blood and plasma on every call.
    From the battlefield to the Upstate, new lifesaving technology is going airborne. AnMed Health’s LifeFlight is changing the game by bringing a new cooler with blood and plasma on every call.
  • Meth Lab Impact In Upstate

    Meth Lab Impact In Upstate

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:50:25 GMT

    Drug enforcement officers in one Upstate county have made five meth lab busts in just four weeks. Experts say it's important to know when crimes like this are happening near you.

    Drug enforcement officers in one Upstate county have made five meth lab busts in just four weeks. Experts say it's important to know when crimes like this are happening near you.

Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.