Law Office of Bruce A. Young

Sexual Abuse Foster Care

Sex Abuse Foster Care 

Former foster child alleges she was sexually assaulted for years, city ignored cries for help in $21M suit 
An 18-year-old girl, identified only as “CB,” says that she and her sisters were sexually abused for years by a member of their foster family.
A preteen girl and her sisters endured years of sexual assaults and abuse at the hands of a member of their foster family — and the city-contracted agency that placed them ignored their cries for help, according to a $21 million lawsuit filed Tuesday.
“CB,” now 18, says she and her two sisters were assigned to foster mom Jovonne Gorham by St. Vincent’s Services in October 2008. CB’s younger brother joined them at the Hancock St. apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant soon after, according to the suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
But Gorham soon sent the girls to live with her father, Joseph Gorham, in his Red Hook Houses apartment, rather than at the address approved by St. Vincent’s, so she could maximize foster care payments, the lawsuit charges.
The girls were made to sleep on air mattresses in the same room as the then-59-year-old predator, who repeatedly forced them to have sexual intercourse, anal sex and oral sex, according to the suit.
Gorham, now 65, was charged on Nov. 9, 2015 with sex conduct against a child under the age of 13 and other counts.
According to a Brooklyn criminal complaint, between Oct. 30, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2009, Joseph Gorham repeatedly sexually assaulted three girls, then aged 9, 10 and 12. He was released on $50,000 bond.
St. Vincent’s and the city ignored red flags indicating improprieties and abuse and failed to properly check on the kids once they were placed in foster care, according to the suit. Additionally, CB says she told various people about the alleged sexual abuse and living in a different apartment from the approved home. She claims both the city and St. Vincent’s “were informed” but did nothing, the suit says.
It wasn’t until Jovonne Gorham’s husband returned home from prison — where he served 17 years for manslaughter — that St. Vincent’s intervened. It revoked Jovonne Gorham’s license as a foster mother and moved the siblings to another home, but then reinstated her shortly after.
St. Vincent’s and the city sent the siblings back to Jovonne Gorham and allowed her to get permanent guardianship in December 2012. The agency and the city stopped “their already inadequate supervision,” according to court papers.
After Jovonne Gorham received guardianship, she “immediately moved” the siblings to Virginia for six months, where they didn’t have enough food or water. The foster mom moved them back to the abusive Red Hook household, where 12 people packed a two-bedroom apartment, the suit alleges.
In October 2014, Jovonne Gorham kicked the girls out of the apartment, says CB, who went to the police. Cops reported the alleged mistreatment to ACS.
The kids weren’t given a new, permanent foster home until early 2015, the suit claims.
CB’s lawyer, Bruce A. Young, said his client’s ordeal is characteristic of problems in the city’s foster system.
“There’s a pattern of the city’s failure to oversee private foster care agencies,” Young said. “Critical here was that when CB was put in this home, there wasn’t followup and the foster mother moved her and her sisters to a different location than the home that was certified.”
“That’s where this abuse occurred — and was apparent,” Young told The News.
The city Law Department said it hadn’t seen any of the legal papers, but “all the allegations will be reviewed once we are served.”
St. Vincent’s, now called HeartShare/St. Vincent’s, couldn’t be reached for comment.
At the elder Gorham’s apartment Tuesday night, his wife defended the alleged pervert and said his accuser was to blame.
“He’s my husband and of course he would have never done anything like that,” said Barbara Gorham, 64. “She’s a troubled girl. It’s pretty sick. She’s pretty sick. We haven’t seen her in years.”

Teen sues city for $3.5M for being repeatedly molested by foster dad
By Lia Eustachewich March 30, 2016 | 2:11am
Modal Trigger Teen sues city for $3.5M for being repeatedly molested by foster dad
An 18-year-old woman who claims she was repeatedly molested while in a foster home says the horrific abuse could have been prevented, according to a new $3.5 million lawsuit.
The teen, identified only as C.B., is suing the city and nonprofit foster agency St. Vincent’s Services after she was allegedly sexually abused by Joseph Gorham, foster mom Jovonne’s dad.
In the suit, C.B. says she and her two younger sisters endured the nightmare for seven months in 2009.
C.B. blames St. Vincent’s, which is contracted by the city, for allegedly not looking into -Jovonne’s background.
“The city is not doing adequate cross checks,” said C.B.’s lawyer, Bruce Young.
Joseph was busted in November on child-sex-abuse charges. His defense attorney declined to comment.
St. Vincent’s didn’t return a message and Jovonne could not be reached.
A city Law Department spokesman said it would review the allegations.

Bruce A Young 212-965-0050

SEX ABUSE FOSTER CARE CB v. St.Vincent’s Services et al 16 CV 2282 USDC SDNY 
Young woman 18, when a child in foster care at age 11, was repeatedly sexually abused in foster care in Brooklyn. Recently the perpetrator was indicted, Supreme Court, Kings County, where the case is pending.
Defendants NYC ACS and private foster care agencies, St. Vincent's Services, SVS  and HEART SHARE Services HHS with Brooklyn Roman Catholic Archdiocese failed to protect her, allowing the prolonged sexual abuse to occur.
CB. Vs. SVS filed March 29, 2016 in Federal Court alleges that the repeated patterns of failed deliberate indifference in supervision and  oversight by ACS and the private foster care agencies allowed the prolonged abuse to occur.  
Unique to this case, The City ACS and SVS HHS moved CB to a new foster home and failed to properly investigate and approve or supervise the foster home.
Foster home certified by SVS was not the home that CB was  actually residing in.  She and her sisters  were moved by the foster mother to maximize profits and placed instead in the foster parents much smaller apartment inadequate to house 3 young girls and their brother.  Instead of the home certified, CB was living in squalor sleeping on blow-up air mattresses, with an old man sleeping in the same room as the young girls.  There he began  sexually abusing CB, the young girl in that home for a prolonged period.  
Had ACS or SVS done any investigation, they would have seen that the school location CB was registered in with her younger sisters was almost an hour away from the foster home certified and  one block away from the horrific alternative home in Red Hook Brooklyn. It was apparent to anyone, had any follow up investigation been done, the foster mother was not keeping the children in the home where it was certified.
Even after  repeated indicated reports of maltreatment were brought against the foster the foster mother, when her husband (previously convicted of manslaughter, was paroled to the same apartment where the foster care was certified)  ACS and St. Vincent's Services still supported the foster mother getting CB returned to her care and obtain guardianship. This blind eye of indifference by the  City and SVS allowed them to wash their hands to minimal oversight they had for CB allowing her to be taken out of state where she and her sisters  were deprived of basic food, water and shelter and then 6 months later returned to the same home in Redhook where she had been repeatedly abused.
Only when CB became old enough to be able to speak out meaningfully outside the foster care system and take independent action, was she able to get away and not be returned to the foster homes and families where she was repeatedly abused and emotionally harmed.  Her long term consequences are immeasurable.
Federal lawsuit filed in United States District Court, Southern District of New York before the Honorable Richard Berman, U.S.D.J., 2016 CV 2282, filed March 29, 2016.
Many of the allegations in this suit parallel the systemic pattern of failures of children in foster care from other suits against ACS and the private foster care agencies.
In SMG vs.  SCO and NYC ACS 14 Civ. 815 Manhattan Federal Court before Judge Broderick USDJ and Magistrate Netburn  the same systemic failures were present in Fall 2012 when 7 year old boy SMG was placed in a SCO foster care by ACS and repeatedly sexually abused.  SMG alleged SCO and ACS used the same revolving door social work, where  8 changing social workers did not listen for SMG’s cries out from danger; they cut off  communication from his mother whose instinctual ability to protect could have stopped the harm.  Once reported  SCO  minimized their role and 4 month delay of records and services, minimized the record of their culpability.  Foster care agency SCO Family of Services and ACS, acknowledge the sexual abuse took place in their foster home, but denied culpability in settling the case in September 2014 for $225,000. In the  Federal lawsuit brought by  SMG ‘s attorney Bruce A Young, Esq. 646-775-8994
In 2009 in the Leekin case SW v City in USDC EDNY repeated horrific systemic breakdowns in NYC foster care system were revealed.  ACS then closed St. Joseph’s Childrens Services foster care during that case. SCO Family Services, recently in the news for the horrible abuse in Long Island, was one of the other foster care agency in the Leekin 2009 suit. SCO is now being shut down, because of the recent horrors to children on Long Island where SCO  kept sending more than 60  special needs  boys to a man’s home who sexually abused over 140 boys over 20 years. ACS said that since the 2009 lawsuit –“ much more sophisticated systems in place today .. would never allow this”, the evidence remains, there is far more that needs to be done.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
100 Church Street, Suite 800
New York, New York  10007
Phone: 212-965-0050 / Fax: 646-405-0169
Web:  BruceAYoungEsq.Com
EXCLUSIVE: ACS workers accused of ignoring signs that twins were forced to give oral sex to foster mom’s father  Court papers accuse ACS of ignoring signs that foster twins were sexually abused. BY VICTORIA BEKIEMPIS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS October 26, 2016
City social workers "ignored" evidence two twins endured forced oral sex in the same Brooklyn foster family where a preteen girl and her sisters also suffered years of sex abuse, new court papers claim. The new court filings contain detailed allegations ACS investigators closed their inquiry into alleged sexual abuse by Joseph Gorham without even interviewing him. In November 2008, Administration for Children's Services investigators pursued a report of suspected maltreatment in foster mom Jovonne Gorham's home. The narrative in the newly revealed report stated: "On a regular basis Jovonne (foster mother) allows her foster children... (twins) M and J to have contact with her father (Joseph Gorham). "The report continued: "In the past, the foster children were made to perform oral sex on the foster mother's father. This ongoing contact places the children at risk of harm." When it came to providing investigators Joseph Gorham's contact info, Jovonne "evaded" their requests, claiming "she did not know where her father lived," the report said. A supervisor ultimately reviewed the "incomplete" findings and decided the allegations were unfounded — despite the fact ACS never interviewed Joseph Gorham, the suit says. Around the same time, St. Vincent's Services, now known as HeartShare, placed now 19-year-old "CB" and her two sisters into Jovonne Gorham’s care. Their younger brother joined them shortly thereafter at Gorham's Hancock St. apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The twins were living at Brooklyn's Red Hook Houses when they were sexually abused. The twins were living at Brooklyn's Red Hook Houses when they were sexually abused. Gorham then sent the girls to live with her dad in his Red Hook Houses apartment — which was not the home approved by St. Vincent's, an ongoing Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit charges. The girls had to sleep on air mattresses next to him, and the then-59-year-old forced them time and time again to have sexual relations with him, according to the $21 million suit.
Gorham, now 65, was hit with sex abuse charges on Nov. 9, 2015, including sex conduct against a child under the age of 13, stemming from the girls' allegations. Gorham maintains he is innocent, his lawyer in the criminal case said. The original civil complaint, filed in March by lawyer Bruce Young, accused St. Vincent's/HeartShare and the Administration of Children's Services of ignoring signs of abuse. ACS said it can't comment on ongoing litigation, but it is "reviewing the amended complaint." HeartShare did not respond to requests for comment.
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