Criminal Convictions and Sexual Abuse Charges Have Led to Few Improvements at Devereux Campuses
An extensive report recently released by The Philadelphia Enquirer has unearthed decades of sexual abuse and the names of dozens of victims who were sexually assaulted while they resided in Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health centers across the country.
With 15 “campuses” serving over 5,000 children across various states including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, and more, Devereux is the largest health center of its kind in the United States. Their mission, to “connect the latest scientific and medical advancements to practical, effective interventions in the treatment of behavioral health,” has been marred by the most recent allegations.
But Devereux is no stranger to claims of sexual abuse on the part of its staff members, which are known as Direct Support Specialists or DSPs. As many as 41 children, some as young as 12 at the time of the incident, have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by Devereux’s DSPs. Here are just some of the examples which have been brought to light by investigative reporters who form part of the renowned Philly newspaper:
- Summer 2020: Edward, 16, along with another 14-year-old resident of Devereux Brandywine (Glenmoore, PA) were sexually abused on multiple occasions by Robert Flood, a 32-year-old DSP. Flood was sentenced to 8 years in prison for his crimes.
- Oct 2019 – Mar 2020: Three girls at a Devereux campus in Arizona were abused by a male DSP in their bedrooms and in the facility’s laundry room.
- Dec 2019: DSP at Devereux Texas campus is charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. Another 12-year-old resident also alleged to have been molested by same employee.
- 2019: Zahara Greer, 15, is abused by 29-year-old DSP Shailen Simmons. Court documents describe how Simmons visited and assaulted Greer in her bedroom during the night on mutliple occasions.
- 2017: Hannah Rivera, 15, made alleged she was repeatedly molested and raped by Michael Cadore, a 24-year-old DSP. Rivera’s allegations were reportedly dismissed by the campus director.
- 2014: C’Kenya Tanksley, a minor at the time, became romantically involved with a 43-year-old DSP, Everol Brackett. During out-of-campus outings, Brackett reportedly took Tanksley shopping and then sexually molested her in an alley.
- 2012: 15-year-old resident of a Devereux Atlanta campus is raped by James Singleterry, 41.
The extensive list above represents only some of the confirmed instances of abuse at Devereux Health Centers in the last decade. However, many more were found, some dating as far back as 1997.
Each and every time that damages were awarded to victims who fought for justice with the help of child sexual abuse attorneys, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health representatives made promises to take action so as to prevent any more minors from being victimized. And yet, the horrid abuse continued.
The jury that decided the case of James Singleterry (last on the list above) took less than an hour to return their verdict in favor of the victim. What’s more, the victim and their loved ones were awarded $50 million in punitive damages to be paid by Devereux. As you can see above, that occurred in 2012, and additional instances of sexual abuse at Devereux centers have continued to surface.
The fight against these organizations that enable and even protect sexual predators must never cease. As sex crimes advocates, the experienced attorneys at Abuse Guardian have made it their mission to make sure it does not.
Justice for Victims of Sexual Abuse at Devereux
Many of the victims of sexual assault at Devereux Health campuses were strong enough to seek out legal representation and fight for the compensation they deserved. However, this is no easy feat.
After having their claims of sexual abuse be denied or swept under the rug, victims of sex crimes often retreat into themselves and away from the outside world; their lives are deeply affected. There is significant difficulty maintaining existing relationships, even with family members. Building bonds with new people becomes almost impossible, too. But the legal process for seeking and obtaining justice is one that can help victims to heal and regain their strength and confidence.
If you or a loved one were the victims of sexual assault or abuse at Devereux or by a Devereux employee, you need to know that you are not alone in your struggle. The Abuse Guardian attorneys have experience defending the rights of victims of sex crimes, and they will stand with you as you fight back against those who have caused you and others harm. Your bravery can help those who suffer in the shadows to share their stories, too, and advance the ongoing battle against this senseless suffering and trauma.