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Berger Montague Files Class Action Lawsuit Against The Glen Mills Schools on Behalf of Abused Children

DATE: March 28, 2019

March 28, 2019. PHILADELPHIA – Berger Montague PC, a national class action and complex litigation law firm, and famed civil rights attorney David Rudovsky of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin, LLC, have joined together to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of current and former students of The Glen Mills Schools who were physically and mentally abused while residing under the care of the School. The lawsuit is filed against Defendant The Glen Mills Schools as well as all its employees or contractors who assaulted, mistreated, or otherwise abused children and young adults who were committed to that facility as a result of adjudications in juvenile courts, or who were otherwise at risk and placed there for treatment and educational purposes.

The lawsuit is brought by two Plaintiffs who attended The Glen Mills Schools and suffered serious abuse, and also on behalf of all persons who attended the School and suffered abuse or are at risk of suffering abuse. The lawsuit seeks both a declaration that the School violated its state-law required mandatory reporting obligations and an injunction requiring the School to comply. It also seeks an order requiring the School to make a complete disclosure of all records and information during the time period from January 1, 2000 to the present pertaining to the abuse of students at the School, and provide a mechanism for the victims of the abuse to review the records pertaining to them and make sure they are complete and can then be reviewed by Pennsylvania government officials and law enforcement. The class action lawsuit additionally seeks compensatory and other damages for Plaintiffs and the Class who suffered physical, emotional and other injuries as a result of the abuse.

The lawsuit comes in the wake of an investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer that revealed decades of child abuse at The Glen Mills Schools, which is the oldest reform school in the United States for court-ordered juveniles. The School is located on a large campus in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The Inquirer’s report, published on February 20, 2019, describes a culture of violence and secrecy at the School. Former students and staff members who were interviewed said counselors routinely choked and punched the boys in their care, even breaking their bones. When students and their families tried to report the attacks, staff members attempted to silence them by claiming the boys would be sent to even worse programs where they would have to restart their sentences.

Documents and court records show that leaders at The Glen Mills Schools turned a blind eye to the beatings and attempted to insulate themselves. Plaintiffs also allege that the School’s leadership engaged in negligent supervision and failed to properly vet or train the School’s employees and counselors, many of whom lacked the backgrounds needed to properly manage the students in their care.

The two named Plaintiffs are appropriately proceeding under pseudonyms at this time. One of the Plaintiffs alleges that as a minor, he experienced beatings at the School, including by staff and other residents. On one occasion, he awoke from sleep and realized that School staff members were pulling him off his top bunk and slamming him onto the floor and spitting in his face. School staff then told him that they would “make it worse” for him if he ever told anyone about the abuse.

The second Plaintiff alleges that because he used the restroom facilities in the morning before 10am, three School staff members assaulted him, breaking three of his ribs. He further alleges abuse on other occasions, that a request for medical attention at one point was denied, and that a staff member told him to lie and tell anyone who asked about his injuries that they happened at a football practice.

Shanon Carson, a Managing Shareholder of Berger Montague, stated, “Today our clients file this class action lawsuit to obtain justice for themselves and all children and their families who were subject to widespread child abuse at The Glen Mills Schools. The lawsuit will shine a light on what occurred over many years at the School and will begin our search for answers. We encourage any person or family member of any child who was a student at The Glen Mills Schools and who was abused, to come forward and report the abuse to us in a confidential and safe environment so that our team can investigate it thoroughly and properly and obtain the truth about what happened. The lawyers we are working with have already been contacted by dozens of individuals reporting abuse at the School, and we expect to hear from many more.”

David Rudovsky of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin, LLC, added, “This lawsuit is brought to ensure that those who engaged in abuses of students at The Glen Mills Schools are held accountable for their illegal conduct and also to provide appropriate relief for the victims of this pattern of misconduct. We also seek to prevent such misconduct in the future at Glen Mills and at other institutions that are charged with the care, supervision and rehabilitation of those committed to those institutions by our juvenile court system.”

Following the report issued by the Inquirer, juvenile courts began the process of removing students from the School. More than 80 boys from California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas were expected to be relocated to different facilities. On March 25, 2019, however, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services ordered an emergency removal of all children still residing at the School. In the meantime, the Office of Children, Youth and Families will maintain a presence at the School to monitor conditions and ensure student safety.

Berger Montague urges current or former students of The Glen Mills Schools who experienced physical or other types of abuse to contact attorney Shanon Carson at 215-875-4656 or by email at scarson@bm.net. Those interested in information about the case or obtaining a copy of the Complaint can visit www.glenmillsschoolabuse.com.

Berger Montague is a national law firm headquartered in Philadelphia with additional offices in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. The firm litigates complex civil cases and class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States. Berger Montague has played lead roles in major cases for 49 years and has recovered over $30 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. Shanon Carson can be contacted at scarson@bm.net.

Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin, LLP, is a civil rights law firm in Philadelphia that has litigated scores of cases involving abuses of prisoners and other persons committed to institutions in Pennsylvania and across the country. David Rudovsky can be contacted at drudovsky@krlawphila.com.

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