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More Than Two Dozen Former Residents of Good Shepherd Services Allege Sexual Abuse by Nuns, Priests and Staff at Notorious Youth Residential Treatment Facility

Slater Slater Schulman LLP’s Baltimore Office Filing Cases Under Maryland’s Child Victims Act

BALTIMORE, March 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The State of Maryland, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Maryland Department of Human Services and Maryland Department of Health are being named in a civil lawsuit today alleging that at least 26 individuals were sexually assaulted as children while housed at Good Shepherd Services, a former residential facility for foster care youth. The lawsuit was filed in the Maryland Circuit Court for Baltimore City by attorneys at Slater Slater Schulman LLP, a leading, full-service law firm with decades of experience representing survivors of traumatic and catastrophic events.

Originally opened in 1864, Good Shepherd Services operated until 2017 as a multi-use, state-run residential treatment facility for children in Halethorpe, MD. It housed children with behavioral health issues, as well as foster care youth sent through the Department of Human Services. It also served as a secure facility for children sentenced to correctional incarceration through the Department of Juvenile Services. The plaintiffs listed in the complaint were children between approximately 12 and 18 years of age who resided under the legal and physical custody, direct and exclusive control, and supervision of the defendants, who were responsible for their care and safety. As the complaint states, the State was aware of – and failed to take action to prevent – the sexual abuse perpetrated against children by staff members and clergy working at the facility, including both priests and nuns.

“The sexual assault of vulnerable teenagers by state employees is horrific, but the fact clergy were also complicit is one of the many truly sickening aspects of what transpired at Good Shepherd Services,” said Adam Slater, Founding and Managing Partner of Slater Slater Schulman LLP. “Children reported being raped and even drugged by staff members at the place where they were forced to live. Because of their negligence, the State failed to protect and provide the most basic right to the children of Maryland – safety.”

According to the complaint, one of the plaintiffs who had no family was sent to Good Shepherd Services for three years, where she was raped by two women employees on numerous occasions. When she was forced to attend confession against her will, she told the priest that she was afraid “God would be disgusted” with her. The priest proceeded to sexually assault her, and continued to assault her every two weeks for the rest of her stay at the facility.

The abuses at Good Shepherd Services were first reported on by The Baltimore Sun in 2013. The Sun reported that the state had issued four warnings to Good Shepherd Services since 2013, cited the organization several times in 2016, gave it a directed plan of correction, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had also investigated reported incidents at the facility, including at least one sexual assault. One of the plaintiffs in the complaint told a therapist that she was raped by a staff member; he was fired shortly afterward. Another plaintiff was escorted out of the main building for informing visiting parents that sexual assaults occurred at the facility, only to fend off a sexual attack by the staff member who escorted her out.

The Maryland Child Victims Act was signed into law on April 11, 2023. The law allows survivors to file retroactive lawsuits, even if their claims have already expired under an existing statute of limitations. The law also eliminates the statute of limitations for all future lawsuits based on childhood sexual abuse claims.

NOTE: Individuals seeking to be linked to resources for sexual assault survivors can call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provides confidential support from trained staff members and can assist with finding local healthcare resources, help talk through what happened, and offer referrals for long-term support.

About Slater Slater Schulman LLP

Slater Slater Schulman LLP is a leading, full-service law firm with decades of experience representing survivors of traumatic and catastrophic events. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to ensuring the best results for our clients through persistence and compassionate representation. With 10 offices in 9 states, Slater Slater Schulman has achieved successful resolutions in some of the most challenging cases in the nation. We have considerable experience with complex, historical sexual abuse cases involving massive institutions, including academic, religious, and youth organizations. Our firm also represents clients in litigation involving pharmaceutical drugs, product liability, environmental law, employment and labor law, medical malpractice, and personal injury, and has proudly represented thousands of World Trade Center survivors. Learn more at sssfirm.com.

Joan Vollero, Allan Morancie / ICR, Inc.
[email protected]

SOURCE Slater Slater Schulman LLP

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-than-two-dozen-former-residents-of-good-shepherd-services-allege-sexual-abuse-by-nuns-priests-and-staff-at-notorious-youth-residential-treatment-facility-302086775.html
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