Former Davis group home resident files suit, alleges sexual abuse

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 - 3:52 pm

A former resident of the troubled Davis group home that closed last year has filed suit against operator EMQ FamiliesFirst.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Yolo Superior Court, accuses the Campbell-based nonprofit of failing to care for and supervise its youth residents. Dr. Joseph George, a licensed psychologist and attorney for the plaintiff who was not named because of privacy reasons, said inadequate staffing levels directly contributed to his client being sexually abused by other minor residents at the facility.

“These children are fairly impaired. A lack of supervision and a lack of staff is a substantial factor in the sexual exploitation of children by other children,” said George, citing numerous complaints filed with the California Department of Social Services, which licenses community care facilities.

EMQ FamiliesFirst spokeswoman Eva Terrazas said the organization does not comment on active litigation.

The plaintiff, now a 19-year-old Sacramento County resident, lived at the Davis location from 2008 to 2010. He was allegedly locked in a room overnight and deprived of a bed, food, water and a restroom, according to the lawsuit. An investigation by DSS later substantiated the claims.

The group home drew attention in June 2013 when Davis police arrested two teenage boys on suspicion of raping an 11-year-old girl at a nearby park. All of the youths were residents at the group home.

The controversy eventually led DSS to investigate dozens of complaints and revoke EMQ’s license, and counties across the state scrambled to relocate children they had placed at the Davis center. The group home closed in September 2013.

EMQ FamiliesFirst settled with the state earlier this year to retain its license, but the home has no children at this time, according to Michael Weston, DSS spokesman.

Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.

Read more articles by Richard Chang

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