Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against New Kent Hospital
Child sex abuse lawsuits in Virginia made headlines this month when 20 former patients at a children’s hospital in New Kent filed a $127 million claim against the former medical director and other administration of this facility.
The lawsuit filed in Richmond Circuit Court against the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents in New Kent alleges the former medical director inappropriately touched young female patients during routine medical exams, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The alleged victims claimed employees at the facility and fellow patients physically attacked or sexually abused other residents.
These claimants are aged from 10 to 26 and live in 13 states. Three of them reside in Virginia. They claim the abuse they suffered at Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents resulted in long-term pain and suffering including bodily injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression, sleep disorders, and humiliation.
Who are the Defendants in these Sexual Violence Lawsuits?
Cumberland is a 110-bed hospital and residential treatment center. It is a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services Inc., according to the lawsuit. The defendants in the case include Cumberland, UHS, Dr. Daniel N. Davidow of Henrico County, the former medical director of the hospital, and Herschel C. Harden III of Williamsburg, a former psychotherapist at Cumberland, the Times-Dispatch reported.
Attorneys for the victims with the law firm Breit Cantor Grana Buckner claim the alleged child sex abuse occurred over about 12 years. The New Kent facility treats children and young adults suffering from a wide range of behavioral issues, and patients at the hospital range in age from two to 22.
The Times-Dispatch reported Virginia State Police has an active criminal investigation into the facility and a grand jury indicted Harden on two counts of object sexual penetration by force. Nobody else has been charged to date.
Medical Mistreatment in New Kent Hospital
The plaintiffs alleged the hospital was run in an unsafe manner. The lawsuit includes a claim that staff members would pull one victim out of his wheelchair and throw him into a shower, knowing he was unable to avoid injury. The lawsuits said residents endured almost constant threats to their basic safety.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs also allege the hospital and its owner, UHS, committed fraud by keeping patients in the facility beyond the time necessary for treatment to maximize revenue, ignored concerns about alleged abuse from families, residents, and employees, and gave misleading information to parents to keep children in their custody.
Cases Involving Sexual Abuse of a Minor in Virginia
We are deeply concerned to read about child sex abuse lawsuits in Virginia relating to a facility that was meant to help young people deal with a wide range of issues. In recent years, numerous child sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed in Virginia and elsewhere in the country. Virginia passed a law extending its statute of limitations for sexual abuse civil lawsuits from two to 20 years in 2011. This is an important step because it allows survivors to file claims against their alleged attackers and institutions that may have covered up sexual abuse for 20 years after they turn 18. Some individuals are afraid to come forward at the time they are abused or have repressed memories that return many years after the trauma.
Numerous lawsuits have been brought against priests accused of abusing minors. Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported the number of allegations of Catholic clergy sex abuse of minors more than quadrupled in 2019 when judged against the average over the previous five years. The upsurge in allegations is linked to a new church-run compensation program for survivors and victims who came forward after a series of high-profile abuse scandals.
The Boy Scouts of America, a century-old organization, filed for bankruptcy in early 2020 as it tried to deal with over 300 lawsuits from men who claimed they were sexually abused as Scouts. The organization said it would use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust fund to give compensation to the victims. NPR pointed out the Boy Scouts’ potential liability is massive. A $20 million award was made in a single case in Oregon in 2010.
In 2018, Michigan State University paid $500 million in a settlement to the victims of former MSU and USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar, following decades of sexual abuse.
Child sex abuse is abhorrent. Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests it is far more prevalent than many people believe. Please talk to our Virginia child injury lawyers if you or a family member believe you suffered abuse.