The parent organization that ran a since-closed Zelienople youth home and recently settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of a teenage sexual assault victim faces a new lawsuit of a similar nature.
Attorney Michael Pisanchyn Jr. of the Pittsburgh-based Pisanchyn Law Firm filed the suit this month against Glade Run Lutheran Services, its CEO and corporation on behalf of a 14-year-old Butler boy and his family.
It claims Glade Run allowed the boy to be subjected to repeated sexual assaults by its residents. He is referred to in the lawsuit as “John Doe” and was 9 at time of the alleged assaults.
Glade Run, Pisanchyn and one of his clients settled a lawsuit last month in which Glade Run was accused of allowing sexual and verbal abuse to happen to another boy.
The recently settled lawsuit alleged that Glade Run staff failed to stop or report the assaults and ridiculed the plaintiff, who was 13 at the time. The lawsuit claimed he “suffered serious physical and psychological abuse over an extended period of time.”
The new lawsuit also claims Glade Run staffers ignored John Doe’s pleas for help, and its overnight employees watched TV and slept instead of watching over children.
The new alleged victim was in Glade Run’s care from November 2013 through May 2015, according to the lawsuit.
A May 19, 2014, trip to a nearby hospital revealed a plastic sword was used to assault the boy, according to court documents.
“It is believed and averred that John Doe was subject to repeated sexual assaults from multiple residents at Glade Run during his time there, while unsupervised by staff, where he would be coerced or forced into gang-sex acts in the laundry room and other places at Glade Run,” the lawsuit claimed.
Glade Run provides autism, mental health and educational programs to children at facilities in Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties.
A residential treatment facility in Zelienople was shut down in late 2015 after widespread abuse among children was reported to the state Department of Human Services.
The state launched an investigation after a call to the state child abuse hotline alleged a group of children were engaging in sexual contact among themselves. The Department of Human Services investigation found that inadequate supervision and staff sleeping or watching television during the overnight shifts in one of the facility’s housing cottages “resulted in the children’s development of a sexual misconduct system that included forcible rape.”
The incidents took place between March and July 2015 and involved eight children between the ages of 8 and 13.
Pisanchyn said via email to the Tribune-Review that no criminal charges have been filed against anyone at the corporation, and his firm continues to pursue justice for the victims.
“We at the Pisanchyn Law Firm intend on bringing the wrath of the law to these corporations who continually put profits over safety to be sure no others have to be in fear of being sexually abused,” He said.
Calls to Glade Run Lutheran Services were not immediately returned.