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Huntsville, IL - Sequel Youth Facility Accused of Abusing Children

Sequel Youth Facility Accused Of Sexual Abusing Their Patients
Published: January 27, 2021
By: Janean Cuffee
Last Updated on February 15, 2021

Sequel Youth Facility Accused of Abusing Children with Mental and Behavioral Health Issues at their Facilities

According to NBC News, Sequel Youth Facility faces accusations of abusing the children in the facility. The alleged conditions put the state’s most vulnerable children in additional harm. Sequel reports itself as a leader nationally in providing support and specialized care for at-risk youth. However, children have been sexually and physically abused by staff members at their facilities.

Sequel, secured hundreds of millions of dollars from government funding and additional tens of millions from private equity firms to expand their facility locations. Despite records showing government inspections highlighting violations at Sequel locations, Sequel deployed a marketing strategy that convinced state officials to continue sending children to their facilities.

Cristy Johnson, an investigator supervisor for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, was at one of the Alabama facilities when she uncovered disturbing potential evidence of the abuse. Johnson highlighted there was a room with feces on the floor, stuck around the window and inside the door frame that disturbed her. When Johnson spoke to the children, they described physical abuse and being denied medical care.

NBC News reported that the advocacy organization documented their findings and interviewed about 100 children from Sequel’s facilities, some as young as 12-years-old. Their reports included proof of the bad conditions - missing floor tiles, broken doors, thin mattresses on top of concrete, and blood smeared on walls.

Sequel’s compliance director, Marianne Birmingham, said the company works with the state to improve the Alabama facility conditions. Birmingham claims that most of the allegations from children, advocates, and staff are unsubstantiated and highlighted the company has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse.

Accusations across various Sequel facilities in Alabama highlighted by NBC News:

  • One 14-year-old boy with a gash beneath his hairline told Johnson that staff members shoved him into a wall headfirst.
    Multiple children claim that staff encouraged them to kill themselves
  • A 16-year-old boy passed away after several staff restrained him
    One resident at Owens Cross Roads reported staff putting girls into violent restraints where they struggled to breath. Some girls attempted self harm to get out of the facility
  • A 16-year-old resident attempted to run away and was put into solitary confinement as punishment - 72 hours, he was left in a room with a thin mattress and camera. The first morning he waved to get attention and yelled he had to go to the bathroom, no one let him out and he was forced to go to the bathroom on his breakfast tray.
  • Allegations of sustained injuries from restraints, for example, fractured ankle, broken toe, and concussions
  • One boy claims he was assaulted multiple times by other children, including his roommate, in front of staff - his mother took photos of him during a visit and his eyes are both black, one swollen shut, and had a bloody laceration on his forehead. Apparently a staff member once restrained him so hard he hit his head on a wall made out of concrete
  • A former employee reported that 40 different residents were consistently body slammed, choked, tackled, held against the wall by their necks, dragged out of bed, punched other children in the face, had their glasses broken, encouraged to fight and harass other residents, and emotionally abused. A form of punishment was to not allow children to go to the bathroom so they urinate and defecate on themselves, then made fun of by staff and forced to sit in their urine or feces

NBC News wrote that the problems at Sequel facilities do not end in Alabama, allegations of mistreatment at an Iowa location, Woodward Academy. Allegedly there were inappropriate restraints without jurisdiction, missing sink handles, showers without hot water, chairs with the arms ripped off, nail exposure on couches, and moldy food. The facility remains open, and Sequel disputes the findings of the investigators.

At a Tennessee location, Kingston Academy, inspectors found mold, overflowing toilets, and children's mattresses on the floor. This facility closed after Tennessee suspended admission and Medicaid terminated their contract.

Brian Kent - Attorney
Hi. I am attorney Brian Kent. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a similar incident, I would be happy to speak with you and discuss your options.
Call the number below. It would be my honor to help you. Consultations are free.
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Legal Options of Victims of Sexually Abused in a Medical Facility

Attorney contributor Brian Kent, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, has represented numerous victims sexually abused in a medical facility and their families in civil lawsuits. Below, we asked Brian to share insight on the legal rights of victims sexually abused at a facility to help determine their legal rights and whether they have a claim against the medical facility.

Brian responded, “Unfortunately sexual assaults occur often at medical facilities. Sometimes sexual predators place themselves in positions of power at these facilities and use both their trust and authority to exploit the victims. This exploitation has been seen across the country, as various medical staff members have been charged for sexually abusing patients. However, medical institutions have a legal obligation to their patients. Medical facilities and medical staff have a legal duty to protect the patients in their care and provide a safe environment throughout their stay. All medical institutions must protect their patients from predators, including their staff."

“The victim of abuse and their family should acquire the services of an experienced sexual abuse lawyer to explore all their legal options. First, victims and their families should ask if the medical facility did its best to prevent the abuse from occurring. Some sexual abuse cases only occur because the facility or medical staff were negligent. For example, a medical facility could be considered negligent if there were prior sexual misconduct complaints filed against current workers, but the workers were permitted to continue working. Another negligence example is if the facility lacks security in the facility to hold all their staff accountable. Additionally, if a medical facility becomes aware of sexual misconduct occurring on their premises and does not increase security as a preventative method, then the assault could be deemed foreseeable. In cases of foreseeable crimes, the medical facility could be found negligent. Victims should know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit and receive compensation for damages."


NBC News

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About the Author
Janean Cuffee
About Janean Cuffee
Editor: Janean is an NYU Applied Psychology major with a double minor in history and sociology. As a NY native, she focuses on highlighting important legal news regarding violence, assaults, and social justice cases. Contact Janean: This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.
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