Lawsuit accuses child-care worker of abuse

Kate White - The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

A lawsuit filed this month alleges that a Children’s Home Society of West Virginia employee sexually abused a boy while he was in her care at a Logan County facility.

Pauline and Charlie Compton, mother and son, are suing the Children’s Home Society, along with Shelia Evans, who worked as a shift supervisor and care provider at the June Montgomery Harless Center Home in Holden.

According to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court on July 17, Pauline Compton, of Lenore, discovered last winter that Evans was having a sexual relationship with Charlie Compton, who was a minor at the time. Evans held a management position at the Harless Center during the boy’s stay there.

Steve Tuck, chief executive officer for the Home Society, said Monday he was not aware of the lawsuit. He said Evans no longer is employed by the Home Society.

No criminal charges have been filed against Evans, of Delbarton, who could not be reached Monday. Timothy Koontz, attorney for the Comptons, said Monday that police agencies in three counties are investigating.

According to Koontz, officials with the state Department of Health and Human Resources have “already established [the allegations in the lawsuit] occurred.” Koontz also said Evans did not oppose the findings of an internal investigation.

The Comptons claim the Children’s Home Society is guilty of gross negligence and should have known Evans was violating her role as caregiver. The Home Society failed in its supervision, hiring and retention of Evans, the complaint alleges.

The Comptons are suing for medical expenses, among other things, and allege Charlie Compton has suffered and will continue to suffer severe emotional distress.

The Harless Center is a residential facility meant to provide nurturing and restorative childcare, the complaint states.

The Children’s Home Society provides emergency youth shelters and helps children get needed foster care and adoptions.

Evans allegedly went to the Comptons’ home after the boy was released from the Home Society’s care and asked his mother for permission to continue the relationship, Koontz said. Pauline recorded the conversation, according to Koontz.

“It’s a deplorable violation of trust and responsibility,” Koontz said. Charleston attorney Charles Love is also representing the mother and son.

The lawsuit is assigned to Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Reach Kate White at [email protected], 304-348-1723 or @KateLWhite on Twitter.


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Kate White

The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

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