Hoffman Homes is at the center of a new lawsuit accusing it of negligence and child endangerment.
A lawsuit was recently filed against Hoffman Homes over allegations that a 15-year-old minor was sexually abused by another resident minor at the home. Hoffman Homes is a “residential treatment program for children with serious mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues.” According to the suit, Hoffman Homes “failed to protect its residents from harm and violated its duties of care.”
What happened, though? Well, according to the suit, the victim of the abuse was only 12-years-old at the time. While a resident at the home, the victim was “placed in a residential unit known as ‘Special Bed Placement,’ which is designed to increase supervision of at-risk children during sleeping hours.” This means a Hoffman Homes employee was required to be in the room as soon as the first child went to bed “and stay there until the last child left in the next morning.”
Additionally, while the victim was in the room, another juvenile was also placed in the room, one who the “facility knew had a history of sexual misconduct.” For the next few days, between November 9, 2016, and November 12, 2016, the victim was abused by the other juvenile until another roommate of the victim alerted staff members on the 12th that “he witnessed inappropriate contact.” From there, staff members interviewed the victim and learned the truth of what had happened. However, it wasn’t until the next day that the home alerted the victim’s guardians or sought medical attention for the victim.
As a result, the suit noted 14 different ways in which Hoffman Homes was negligent and violated its duties of care, including the following: recklessly ignoring its own Special Bed Placement policies, recklessly failing to inform and/or warn relevant individuals of the juvenile’s history of sexual misconduct, recklessly failing to supervise the both individuals at all relevant times, recklessly failing to make proper roommate choices for resident and by affirmatively choosing to place the minor, who had a history of sexually inappropriate behaviors, in a room with the victim, a sex abuse victim, despite knowledge of the risk of such a choice.
As part of the suit, the victim is seeking punitive damages against Hoffman Homes, as well as any other relief the court deems appropriate. In addition to Hoffman Homes, four employees are also listed as defendants, including Glenn Nance, 27, of Hanover, Antonio Hill, 23, of Chambersburg and Guy Joseph, 52, and Timothy Speelman, 31, both of Gettysburg for failing to report child abuse and endangering the welfare of children. At the time the abuse occurred, Joseph was responsible for supervising the room the victim was in.