FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A lawsuit has been filed against Valley Behavioral Health System, LLC and Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc., alleging that a patient was “violently raped by another inpatient resident” on March 30, 2016.
Jered Medlock, who represents the parent of the victim, stated in a press release that Valley Behavioral had “inadequate security and inadequate nursing personnel to prevent” the sexual assault.
The lawsuit alleged Valley Behavioral became aware or should have known a certain male patient, who is also a minor, had serious mental health issues that prevented him from being unsupervised. It also claims Valley Behavioral should have known it is “improper to house teenage boys and girls in the same hall, especially boys and girls with mental health disorders.”
According to the lawsuit, on March 30, a female patient, also a minor, was walking down the hall, when the aforementioned male patient grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her in his room.
The victim attempted to fight him off, but the male patient grabbed her by her hair, took her clothes off and forced her to lay on the floor, the lawsuit stated. The female patient was then raped by the male patient, according to the lawsuit.
After the incident, Valley Behavioral is accused of not sending a nurse or other personnel to check on the female patient and of telling her that making up a story about the rape could damage the facility and nurses, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit stated that Valley Behavioral should report that any patient who caused sexual abuse or harm to others who are minors should be reported to the Child Abuse Hotline, get treated or medicated so they do not pose as a risk to others in a public place, are not left unsupervised to commit violent actions and that warning be issued to Valley Behavioral supervisors for the protection of its patients.
According to the lawsuit, Medlock seeks the following charges:
- negligence (2)- Acadia Healthcare and Valley Behavioral were negligent in housing minor boys and girls in the same hall within the same facility, failing to divide their sleeping quarters, not hiring sufficient staff to supervise the patients
- battery – The actions of the male patient constitute the tort of battery and other intentional torts, including the infliction of emotional distress
- breach of contract – That because Valley Behavioral is a party to a contract with the State of Arkansas and/or Arkansas DHS, the parent, as a taxpayer, reserves the right to bring any causes of action for breach of contract or for repayments about paid to Valley Behavioral
- punitive damages – Valley Behavioral knew by virtue of previous assaults that subsequent sexual assaults were likely to come without some form of protection, and that Valley Behavioral took no actions to protect its patrons. Valley Behavioral should be liable for punitive and/or exemplary damages for its actions of telling the female patient not to make up the story of her rape, as it could hurt the nurses and the facility. Valley Behavioral’s actions showed a motive of profit and self-preservation over the safety and well-being of its patients, specifically the female victim in this case.
Medlock and the girl’s parent are wanting $75,000 for future medical bills, past and future emotional harm, past and future pain and suffering and other damages.
They have requested the case be presented at a trial.
5NEWS reached out to Valley Behavioral Health System, LLC for comment, but those requests have not been answered.