MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – A Marion County couple has filed a lawsuit in Monongalia County Circuit Court against the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) and two of its employees, alleging that a 12-year-old boy under the agency’s supervision sexually assaulted their five-year-old daughter.
The incident in question happened in April 2021 at a Little League baseball field in the Wadestown area. The parents had taken the young girl to the field to watch her brother’s baseball game. The 12-year-old, who was under the custody of the DHHR due to a “history of aggressive, violent and sexually predatory behavior”, was at the park for a visitation day with his parents, according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges that the boy lured the young girl behind a structure, where he “violently physically and sexually assaulted her.” The boy covered her mouth and told her that if she screamed, he would kill her, the suit goes on to allege.
As the result of the attack, the young girl has suffered “physical and permanent psychological harm,” while her parents have also suffered “economic and irreparable emotional and psychological harm,” the lawsuit says.
“This should never happen,” said Keith Gould, an attorney representing the victim. “The WVDHHR employees knew the background of the abuser and of the presence of small defenseless children, yet they allowed the attacker the opportunity to prey on this little girl. She and her family will deal with the pain of this attack and the consequences of the defendants’ gross negligence for the rest of their lives.”
The lawsuit alleges gross negligence on the part of the DHHR employees for failing to supervise the boy as well as a violation of statute/regulation, as the 12-year-old was under an “eyes on” protocol as a part of his Child Protective Services safety plan.
“Our client was lured to a secluded area and violently sexually assaulted by an older child that had predatory tendencies and who was allowed to roam unsupervised at a little league baseball game,” said Tim Miley, owner of The Miley Legal Group. “It shocks the conscience that the very government agency meant to protect our children blatantly failed our client. It’s our job to hold the WVDHHR and its employees accountable so that this never happens again.”
The family has asked for a jury trial.