NewsShocking Allegations: Women File Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse at Maryland Juvenile Facility

Shocking Allegations: Women File Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse at Maryland Juvenile Facility

Breaking News: Lawsuits Filed Over Sexual Abuse at Maryland Juvenile Facility

By Kelsey Kushner

Published on: March 12, 2024 at 11:14 PM EDT / CBS Baltimore

A Wave of Lawsuits Alleging Sexual Abuse at a Maryland Juvenile Facility

Recent reports reveal that a significant number of women have come forward with lawsuits pointing to a Baltimore County facility dedicated to troubled youth as the site of severe sexual abuse. The blame is also directed at various Maryland state agencies for their failure to prevent these incidents. In total, 39 women have joined together to sue the entities responsible for overseeing Good Shepherd Services, a once-operational facility under the guidance of a Catholic religious order in Halethorpe, Maryland, for almost half a century before being closed down and abandoned. Legal representatives anticipate that this number of plaintiffs will significantly increase over time.

A Heartbreaking Scenario Unfolds

The victims describe the facility as a place where their hopes for rehabilitation were shattered by traumatic experiences. According to attorney Frank Natale, who is representing 26 out of the 39 women involved in the lawsuit, the emotional toll of the abuse is immeasurable. Good Shepherd Services was established by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic order with a focus on assisting women and girls. The legal action taken under the Child Victims Act accuses the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Health of neglecting their duty to supervise the facility, which allowed guards, counselors, teachers, as well as nuns and priests, to allegedly sexually exploit minors under their care.

A Pattern of Systemic Failure

Another angle to the story reveals a troubling trend of abuse within juvenile facilities in Maryland. In a previous case from October 2023, CBS News featured Claudia McLain, who detailed her account of enduring abuse at the Charles H. Hickey School, a state-managed juvenile detention center in Baltimore, where she was sent at the age of 13 for minor offenses. McLain’s harrowing experience sheds light on a pattern of abuse that has plagued Maryland’s juvenile detention system. She joins a growing list of individuals who have spoken out about the systemic failures of these institutions to protect vulnerable youth in their care.

Challenges to Accountability

The recent surge in lawsuits targeting the Maryland juvenile system is a stark reminder of the challenges faced in holding those responsible for abuse accountable. The survivors who have come forward are demanding justice and transparency in the hope of preventing future instances of abuse from occurring. The collective voices of these courageous individuals serve as a powerful call to action for systemic changes that prioritize the safety and well-being of all individuals, especially the most vulnerable members of society.

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