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Sex Abuse Damages Foster Care
September 2013
New Damages actions filed in Federal Court against ACS Little Flower and Abbott House for failure to protect adolescent girls and boys while in protective foster care 

Agency Is Sued in Sex-Abuse Case
Newsday - Long Island, N.Y.
Author: By Michele Salcedo.
Date:   Apr 9, 1993
Little Flower Children's Services, the Catholic child-welfare agency in Wading River, is among the defendants in a federal lawsuit filed
yesterday on behalf of one of eight boys alleged to have been sexually abused by a house parent.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, seekscompensatory damages of $7 million and unspecified punitive damages for civil rights violations of "John Doe," a
14-year-old boy who says he was sexually and physically abused during the year he lived at Little Flower. Barry Wiggins, 26, was arrested Feb. 4, and pleaded not guilty to seven counts of sex abuse after one of the 10 residents of St. Peter's
Cottage told a counselor that Wiggins demanded sexual favors and would withhold privileges or beat them if they refused, police said. The complaint alleges that city administrators, who are named as
co-defendants, did not properly supervise the foster-care services provided by Little Flower. Little Flower "failed to properly hire, rehire and retain their employees" and "failed to properly supervise
and discipline their employees," the complaint said.
"He {the plaintiff} had a psychiatric history and had been in and out of foster care for quite some period of time," said Bruce Young, the Manhattan attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of one of Wiggins'
alleged victims and the boy's mother. "They knew he needed supervision and he got the wrong kind."
Adrienne Carr, director of development for the agency, said Wiggins' credentials and references were strong. "We have a criteria and we check references and his were excellent," she said. "He was involved in a church group. We did the right thing as far as references were concerned."
The action filed in federal court yesterday is the second suit in two months seeking more than a million dollars in damages and naming the
child welfare agency. On Feb. 18, Maria Garramone, 37, a special-education teacher who had a part-time job at Sears in Lake Grove in 1991, and her husband, Gerard, filed a $1.1-million suit in
state Supreme Court in Riverhead against Little Flower. Maria Garramone was putting out stock in the children's department at Sears on Nov. 221991, when four girls walked through her department.
"It looked as though they were trying to steal some items," said Maria Garramone, in an interview at the Bay Shore office of her attorney, Andrew Siben. "I figured I'd let them pass and then I'd call security.
When I turned to get something, one of them hit me with something from behind."
The four girls, who were all 13, repeatedly kicked her and stomped on her right wrist, she said. She learned the girls were from Little Flower when the house parent who brought them to the mall came to
collect them. "She dropped them off and needed to do something with her mother," said Garramone, who is left with numbness in her right hand and
permanent damage to the left side of her face.
The lawsuit alleges Little Flower was "careless, reckless and negligent in the supervision of . . . children, in hiring incompetent personnel, . . . in failing to foresee this accident and incident and
in failing to provide safeguards" for the children.
Carr said she was unfamiliar with the Garramones' lawsuit. The agency's rules, however, call for a houseparent and a recreational counselor to accompany the 10 children housed in each cottage when they leave the agency's grounds.
"They have to be in a group," Carr said. "There's no way they're allowed to just wander around. They cannot be off ground unsupervised."
Carr said the agency is evaluated by the state, by the New York City Child Welfare Administration and by internal audits. "We've had exemplary reports in the past," she said. In the past few months, Little Flower has made headlines with Wiggins'arrest and the arrest of two girls, aged 11 and 14, on third-degree arson and burglary charges. They allegedly set the fire that destroyed the North Shore United Methodist Church on March 16. Garramone said she decided to file the suit out of frustration. "I can
understand these children have problems," she said. "But there comes a time they should be made to deal with the consequences of their actions. From what I see, I don't think there were any consequences. What frustrates me is, I don't see anything changing."
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
 Abstract (Document Summary)
The complaint alleges that city administrators, who are named as co-defendants, did not properly supervise the foster-care services
provided by Little Flower. Little Flower "failed to properly hire, rehire and retain their employees" and "failed to properly supervise and discipline their employees," the complaint said. The action filed in federal court yesterday is the second suit in two
months seeking more than a million dollars in damages and naming the child welfare agency. On Feb. 18, Maria Garramone, 37, a special-education teacher who had a part-time job at Sears in Lake
Grove in 1991, and her husband, Gerard, filed a $1.1-million suit in state Supreme Court in Riverhead against Little Flower. In the past few months, Little Flower has made headlines with [Barry Wiggins]' arrest and the arrest of two girls, aged 11 and 14, on third-degree arson and burglary charges. They allegedly set the fire that destroyed the North Shore United Methodist Church on March 16.
B'klyn Teen Suing CWA For Abuse
[CITY Edition]
Newsday - Long Island, N.Y.
Author: By Patricia Cohen. Date Apr 29, 1993
A 15-year-old Brooklyn boy who was sent to a foster home by New York City child-welfare officials is suing the agency for $7 million,
charging he was repeatedly beaten and sexually abused by the house parent. The boy, dubbed "Richard Roe" in the federal lawsuit, was under the round-the-clock care of Barry Wiggins, a 26-year-old house parent
arrested by Long Island police in February on charges he sexually abused seven teenage boys at Little Flower Children's Services home in Wading River. Wiggins has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges and is free on $250 bail. The suit, the second of its kind filed this month, calls into question just how capable the city is of overseeing the sprawling network of foster-care agencies and group homes that it sends thousands of troubled kids to every year. The city's Human Resources Administration has 95 New York City kids at the Wading River home this year as part of a $33-million contract it has with the Catholic child-welfare agency.
The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges that Wiggins regularly kicked and punched Roe and fondled him during his yearlong stay there.
"He's got all kinds of bruises all over his body and scars to this day," said his lawyer Bruce Young, who also represents a 14-year-old
Manhattan boy allegedly abused by Wiggins. "Wiggins dragged him across the rug and . . . ripped his back open against the bed." The teenager has suffered from "mental anguish, terror, pain . . . sleeplessness,nightmares {and} eating disorders" that will require medical and psychiatric treatment long into the future, the complaint charges.
The suit names Little Flower as well as HRA chief Barbara Sabol and Child Welfare Administration head Robert Little with placing Roe in a "dangerous situation" and then failing to supervise him once there. HRA spokeswoman Sheila Jack said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
Abstract (Document Summary)
The boy, dubbed "Richard Roe" in the federal lawsuit, was under the round-the-clock care of Barry Wiggins, a 26-year-old house parent
arrested by Long Island police in February on charges he sexually abused seven teenage boys at Little Flower Children's Services home in Wading River. Wiggins has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges and is free on $250 bail.
Girl's Sex Abuse Shrugged Off
Newsday - Long Island, N.Y.
Author: By Bob Liff.Date: Mar 9, 1993
An 8-year-old retarded girl was repeatedly sexually abused by five boys, all age 11 or younger, in a Brooklyn psychiatric diagnostic
center, but investigation of the complaint was dropped after a caseworker said the girl initiated some of the activity, the girl's
mother and a state senator said yesterday.
State Sen. Franz Leichter (D-Manhattan), the girl's mother and lawyer attacked as "ridiculous" the state report declaring the claim of sexual abuse "unfounded." The abuse reportedly occurred last spring at St. Joseph's Services for Children and Families.
While records of complaints are routinely expunged after being dubbed "unfounded," Leichter and the girl's mother, Shirley Greenaway, obtained a copy of the report and released it yesterday at City Hall.
The report by the investigator for the state's Department of Social Services showed the boys escaped several times with the girl to a
nearby building, where they engaged in sexual activities. The six children lived in a residential section of the agency, which oversees
children in foster care and other programs.
The state investigator - identified in court documents as Sandra Robertson - said staff members at the center knew about some of the allegations of sexual activity. But many of the activities were not entered in the agency's official log, which the mother's attorney,
Bruce Young, said constitutes evidence the child's welfare was endangered. In her report, Roberston wrote "each sexual contact was
initiated by {the girl} . . ., lasting only a brief time." 
Young, who is preparing a civil suit against the diagnostic center, said Robertson's "unfounded" declaration stopped complaints that supervision was inadequate from going on to prosecutors. Agency and center officials would only say the case was handled in
accordance with the law.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
 Abstract (Document Summary)
The state investigator - identified in court documents as Sandra Robertson - said staff members at the center knew about some of the allegations of sexual activity. But many of the activities were not entered in the agency's official log, which the mother's attorney,
Bruce Young, said constitutes evidence the child's welfare was endangered. In her report, Roberston wrote "each sexual contact was
initiated by {the girl} . . ., lasting only a brief time."
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