According to IndyStar, Hope Center Indy, a faith-based residential program from human trafficking survivors, is under investigation following sexual abuse claims. The center was founded to be “a safe place to heal and a clear path to community reintegration as empowered individuals,” according to their website.
The first police report was filed around nine months ago. The woman told police she was sexually assaulted multiple times in 2019 at Hope Center Indy between September 1st and November 20th. Following the warrant, Central Indiana social services workers and advocates were warned not to refer patients to Hope Center Indy. Another former patient filed a police report, increasing the allegations. This victim claims Hubert Nolen, co-founder, and executive director, was the perpetrator.
The center’s attorney stated investigators attempted to look over security footage, but Hope Center indy records on a loop, overriding older video. Therefore, they would not find any surveillance of the time period in which the allegations occurred.
Nolen denies all allegations. He stated, “there’s no truth to the accusations whatsoever,” IndyStar reported. He claims the investigators “have nothing.” He also emphasized his frustration for not being contacted since May 12th after being served the search warrant. Nolen claims he was unaware of the allegations before this warrant.
Attorney contributor Jeff Gibson, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Indiana, has represented numerous victims sexually abused in a medical facility. We asked Jeff to share his insight to help these victims sexually abused by medical staff learn their rights and determine whether they have grounds for a civil lawsuit against a medical facility.
Jeff emphasized the following: “sexual abuse often occurs in medical facilities because sexual predators place themselves in positions of power and trust to abuse their authority and exploit victims. This exploitation is seen across the country, as multiple medical staff members have been charged with sexual assault. However, medical facilities and staffs have a legal obligation to their patients. Institutions must protect their patients and provide a safe environment, especially from sexual predators.”
Jeff continued by discussing the legal options for victims sexually abused in a medical facility. He said: “In some sexual abuse cases, the abuse only occurs due to negligence by the staff or facility. Victims and their families should first ask if the medical facility did everything possible to prevent the abuse. A medical facility could be considered negligent if there is a lack of security provided in their facilities for patients, including guards and cameras. Another example of negligence is if prior sexual misconduct complaints were filed against a worker, but the complaints were ignored, and the worker remained employed. If a medical facility is aware of previous sexual misconduct and fails to upgrade protective measures, then the following crimes would be deemed foreseeable.”
“In cases where a crime is foreseeable, the medical institution could be considered negligent. In such cases, the victim and their family may have grounds for a lawsuit and should secure an experienced sexual abuse lawyer’s services. If the victim’s lawyer can prove the crime was foreseeable and the institution was negligent, the victim and their family may receive compensation for the damages.”