Former Child Services Worker Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Prison
A former employee of Sunrise Children Services in Morehead has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse after being accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old female resident of the facility for teen girls.
25-year-old Taylor ward was arrested in July 2017 and initially pleaded not guilty during his arraignment a week later. Ward was a direct-care counselor at the Sunrise Children Services’ Morehead residential center, which was formerly located at 2495 Cranston Road. This location closed in early March of this year.
Taylor’s arrest warrant says that between December 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017, Ward worked at the facility and admitted to touching a female minor who was under his care. According to the uniform citation, Ward also admitted to participating in other inappropriate conduct with minors while working at Sunrise.
The alleged victim told a therapist that she’d been abused at the Morehead Center and this therapist immediately reported the accusation. On July 12, 2017, the girl was interviewed by police and a social worker, when she identified Ward as her abuser. He was arrested two days later.
On March 15, 2019, Ward agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison. He is currently incarcerated at the Rowan County Detention Center.
Legal Recourse for Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Group Homes
After several years as a sex crimes prosecutor, attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com now represents survivors of sexual violence in civil lawsuits. Here are some thoughts from Brian on the options for legal recourse available to those who have suffered sex abuse in group homes:
Children living in residential group homes deserve to live in a safe environment, but sadly, this is not always the case. There have been numerous cases of these facilities failing to provide their residents with decent living conditions, along with issued of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse by employees. When a child is sexually abused by a group home employee, it’s important to make sure the perpetrator is held criminally responsible. Additionally, the home should be investigated to determine if they failed to protect residents from being abused because of negligence.
If you’re a survivor of sexual abuse in a group home, you deserve justice. You can learn more about your legal options by discussing your case with an experienced sex abuse survivors attorney.