Decision reached in lawsuit against Waco Center for Youth
WACO (UPDATE) - In the suit filed against the Waco Center for Youth regarding the sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy by his roommate back in 2008, a jury has decided that the center is not accountable for what happened.
The jury was asked to decide if WCFY acted with deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment against the victim in its programs or activities. They answered no.
The jury was then asked if the WCFY discriminated against the victim solely by reason of his disability. Again the jury answered no.
The decision has cleared the organization of any wrongdoing.
by Bruce Gietzen and Noel Brennan
WACO - Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday evening in the U.S. District Court in Waco in a civil rights lawsuit against the Waco Center for Youth and one of it's supervisors.
The suit alleges in the Spring of 2008, a 16 year-old boy who was a patient at the Waco Center For Youth was sexually assaulted by his roommate. The teen has a disability, including Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar disorder, and severe emotional issues.
Prosecutors argued the Waco Center for Youth was responsible for the assault because they neglected to prevent the teen from being sexually assaulted by a fellow student.
Prosecutors told jurors WCFY and an unnamed supervisor there were aware of sexual threats the teen's roommate made in February of 2008. They claimed that staff members at the youth center failed to report the threats. By doing so, prosecutors argued WCFY failed to prevent an eventual sexual assault that reportedly occurred two months later.
The alleged victim testified Tuesday morning along with several witnesses including the boy's father and Eddie Greenfield, Superintendent of the Waco Center for Youth.
According to court papers, the plaintiff and his father also claim WCFY and the supervisor did not conduct any sort of investigation into the sexual threats and did not take any steps to ensure the boy's safety. The attacker was not even removed as a roommate, was unpunished and left unsupervised in the same room, which led to the eventual assault.
However, WCFY Supt. Eddie Greenfield testified that his staff followed the procedures they were supposed to follow after receiving a report of a sexual assault. Greenfield told jurors that after receiving the plaintiff's report of sexual assault, "[the plaintiff] did not spend another night with [the roommate].
The defense also poked holes in the teen's testimony Tuesday morning saying he gave multiple, conflicting versions of his story to the jury. They argued he wasn't able to provide some specific details about the assault including when exactly it occurred.
In April 2008, the boy's parents removed him from the WCFY, claiming it amounted to a hostile educational environment.
The victim, now 20 years-old, apparently experiences sleep disturbances, nightmares, is increasingly non-compliant and oppositional and is frightened of other males.
The lawsuit is asking for damages, compensatory services, costs, reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, attorney fees and costs and other forms of equitable relief.
The seven-member jury will begin deliberations Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
Note: It is KXXV News Channel 25's policy to not identify victims of sexual assault.
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