Children may suffer from behavioral issues that affect their mental and physical well-being. Adults might place their children into behavioral health facilities in Florida so the young ones can receive the treatment necessary to address their problems. Unfortunately, as a case making its way in a Pennsylvania federal courtroom reveals, children could face abuse while under the care of behavioral health professionals. In this case, children suffered from instances of sexual abuse.
In a federal district court in Pennsylvania, a judge ruled that a class-action lawsuit may go forward. The lawsuit targets Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and alleges children suffered from sexual abuse at their facilities. The nonprofit sought a dismissal, but the judge did not rule in its favor.
The recent decision stands as the third straight denial of a motion to dismiss. Three children are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and they are suing to recover damages for allegations of physical and sexual abuse. The defendant denies the claim, and time will reveal the outcome of the litigation based on facts presented to the court.
Litigation for sexual abuse
Victims of sexual abuse may file criminal charges against their accusers and could also explore civil litigation. The victims might need compensation to cover the costs of treating the physical and psychological harm they suffered. In civil proceedings, they do not have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases involve proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
Plaintiffs might seek substantial punitive damages in cases involving sexual abuse. They could take the case to trial, although some might choose to settle. A fair settlement could end the proceedings faster.